Red Admiral butterfly copyright LDNPA

Biodiversity Net Gain

Our vision for the Lake District National Park is an inspirational example of sustainable development in action. This means that developments that are needed for our local communities and visitor experience, must balance with the needs of nature recovery and net-zero. One way of achieving this balance is for some new developments to have to bring about an overall increase in biodiversity.

Our local plan for 2020-2035 includes Policy 4 Biodiversity and Geodiversity, which requires certain new developments to include a proportionate and appropriate increase in biodiversity. If the development will reduce biodiversity of a particular type of habitat, it needs to have the same amount plus 10 percent increase in that same habitat type, known as 'net gain'. For example, if a development will remove 50m of hedgerow, it needs to plant 55m of new hedgerow somewhere else.

Our role will be to match up developers who need land to create new habitats on, with landowners who have land available for habitat creation in suitable locations. The Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document explains when and how net gain will be secured in accordance with Policy 04.

Although Policy 04 and the Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document were published and adopted in May 2021, we have given biodiverstiy net gain requirements a seven month lead-in to give applicants and their advisors the opportunity to fully understand and prepare for the planning application requirements. Biodiversity Net Gain applies to all planning applications from 1 January 2022.

Certain planning applications need biodiversity net gain information

All applications for planning permission must be accompanied by biodiversity net gain information, except:

  • Householder planning applications.
  • Applications on sites that do not contain habitats.
  • Applications solely for change of use (other than applications for conversion of traditional buildings).

Applications will need a study, a plan and a calculation

You will need to include the following with your planning application:

  • A biodiversity baseline/ecological study
  • A biodiversity gain plan
  • A completed Natural England biodiversity metric calculation showing the net gain which will result from your development and implementation of your gain plan.

To comply with Policy 04 applications must demonstrate they will bring about at least 10 percent biodiversity net gain. The metric tool is independently produced by Natural England, the Government's advisor for the natural environment in England, and will be the legally mandated method for demonstrating required net gain.

Alternatively, if you want your application to be assessed without this information, please provide an alternative statement setting out your reasons (for example because you consider that the site does not contain habitats, or because you understand your proposal is contrary to Policy 04 but you consider that there are material considerations which outweigh this).

If your application doesn't have the biodiversity information required, it will be invalid and won't be progressed until the information is submitted. This also applies to outline planning applications, so that any biodiversity impacts can be properly assessed.