Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull project
Led by Ecological Services at Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Environment Bank, the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull project is being run with the support and involvement of all Local Planning Authorities within the sub-region.
To date, the WCS project has been progressing well, with good feedback from developers and ecologists alike. A number of planning applications have already been approved with compensation sites secured within the planning permission, and there are more in the pipeline.
In most WCS LPAs a Biodiversity Impact Assessment is required on all major and most minor developments and where residual losses to biodiversity cannot be avoided, compensation is necessary.
We have been working with, and providing advice and training to, Local Government Ecologists, Local Planning Officers and consultant ecologists to work towards an efficient system where metric assessments are undertaken alongside ecological surveys, not at a later date. In parallel to this, the Local Planning Authorities are moving towards the implementation of this metric being required to validate planning applications for larger developments.
These approaches allow for valuation of biodiversity and mitigation requirements to be taken into account early in the development process, giving the best opportunity for appropriate compensation and reducing delays in the system, with the potential for compensation providers to be identified prior to planning approval.
A biodiversity offsetting strategy has been included as an annex within the new Green Infrastructure Strategy, soon to be adopted across the sub-region. During consultation of this document feedback on the strategy was very positive and was endorsed across consultees.
For queries about how this system of biodiversity accounting may be relevant to your development or if you would like to discuss becoming a provider of compensation in WCS, please contact Louise Martland (also now responsible for national delivery if you are outside the sub-region) – firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 07710 192295.