With ever-increasing demands on businesses to demonstrate environmental responsibility, ecologists at Harris Lamb have been working with developers to ensure that projects are compliant with Biodiversity regulations to prevent them being blocked at planning stage.

With regulations in place specifically for the UK construction industry on Biodiversity Net Gain – identifying ways to oversee development while leaving the environment in a better state that it was prior to construction – councils have announced their intentions to demand impact calculations for new developments prior to granting planning permission.

Rob Harrison

Rob Harrison, Principal Ecologist for the business, said: “Developers and businesses are increasingly being asked to prove that they are taking steps to minimize the impact they have on the environment and that they are actively finding ways to offset it with beneficial counter-steps.

“The decline in UK habitats and species makes reversing past losses an imperative, not just in terms of the benefits to wildlife but also in terms of economic and social benefits. Our in-house ecologists have attended the CIEEM training course for Biodiversity Impact Calculations and are now undertaking Biodiversity Impact Calculations for our client projects to demonstrate biodiversity net gain and provide offsetting for the impacts of development on the environment.

“Already, we are seeing Council planning departments refusing to grant planning permission until biodiversity net gain can be demonstrated in this way. Given that more authorities will be asking to see them, we are adopting this as best practice, in-keeping with new guidelines issued by the three leading industry bodies, the CIEEM, CIRIA and IEMA.

“Although a newly developed best practice protocol, we have already successfully delivered several Biodiversity Impact Calculation projects and helped our clients achieve planning permission for their developments as a result.  This has not only achieved progress for development but has demonstrated quantitatively benefits to the environment.”