Biodiversity and landscape
We’re proud of our natural environment and want to take care of it. That’s why we’ve brought together a range of strategies, planning policies and programmes to protect, maintain and enhance our biodiversity and landscapes. We expect development proposals to take account of biodiversity and landscape policies and we’ll work with our partners to ensure this happens.
Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain ('BNG') came into force on 12 February 2024 for major developments, with other developments for which mandatory BNG is applicable having a temporary exemption transition period until 02 April 2024, BNG launch date confirmed.
This means that when putting in a planning application developers will need to show how 10% BNG can be achieved on site, or off-site locations as close as possible to the development. As a last resort, this can be achieved via the statutory biodiversity credit scheme.
Biodiversity Net Gain
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a significant change in the planning system. Submitting a planning application for most forms of development will require the consideration of biodiversity in a new way. The Government have created a step by step guide called biodiversity net gain guidance what you need to know
Locally Newark and Sherwood District Council have agreed two important documents which you will need to know about when preparing your BNG calculation:
The Significant On-Site Enhancement (PDF File, 362kb) sets out what the Council considers to represent ‘significant enhancement’ within development proposals, and therefore what elements of the proposed on-site biodiversity net gain that it expects to be delivered and monitored for at least 30 years, with that delivery secured by an appropriate legal agreement.
The Strategic Significance Policy (PDF File, 313kb) is an interim policy setting out how strategic significance should be applied to habitats within BNG calculations supporting planning applications before the Nottinghamshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy is published. The Strategic Significance - Focal Areas Plan (PDF File, 6,581kb) identifies locations where it is considered that there are concentrations of opportunities for habitat creation and where it is considered that activities for habitat creation and enhancement could be prioritised to provide maximum biodiversity benefits.
The Council is also issuing a call to local landowners to identify land that might be suitable as a Biodiversity Gain Site and asking them to get in touch if they would be interested in getting involved.
Biodiversity in Newark & Sherwood
Newark and Sherwood contains an impressive range of habitats and species. The district also has a number of sites which receive specific protection because of their international, national or regional importance for nature conservation including:
- Birklands and Bilhaugh special area of conservation (SAC) on the Defra website
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) on the Natural England website
- Sherwood Forest national nature reserve on the national government website
- Local nature reserves on the Natural England website
- Sites of interest for nature conservation on the Nottingham City Council website
Landscape Character Assessment
This provides a clear and objective way to assess our varied landscape. It also contains information about the character, condition and sensitivity of the landscape, giving a greater understanding of what makes areas locally distinctive.
The study recognises local distinction through the identification of policy zones across five landscape character types.
Green Infrastructure Strategy
The protection and enhancement of the area's biodiversity and open spaces should be seen not just as the protection of individual elements of our towns and villages. It is part of the development of an overall green infrastructure network of greenspaces, landscapes and natural elements which intersperse and connect our settlements and surrounding areas.
To help create this network we’ve produced a green infrastructure strategy (PDF File, 9,769kb) championing the need for a high level of environmental quality, provision of recreational opportunities and access to green space by developers. It also highlights the need to respond to the threats and challenges of climate change for communities and wildlife.
Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan
The Nottinghamshire local biodiversity action plan seeks to focus resources to conserve and enhance biodiversity through local partnerships. It’s part of a national approach to biodiversity and identifies important species and habitats in our area, giving each one an action plan to aid in their conservation.
The Plan does the following:
- assesses the current situation
- identifies the main threats to species and habitats
- sets targets for their conservation and restoration
- outlines the required actions necessary to protect these elements of our environment.