The council adopted a new Landscape, Biodiversity and Trees Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on 13 December 2018.
The SPD explains how landscape, biodiversity and tree considerations should be integrated into the development process to ensure that the Local Plan’s requirements are met and best practice is achieved. In particular, it supports the implementation of Local Plan policies EM1 (Landscape), EM3 (Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area), EM4 (Biodiversity, Geodiversity and Nature Conservation), and EM5 (Green Infrastructure).
A copy of the Landscape and Biodiversity SPD can be downloaded below
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is an approach to development, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand. This means protecting and enhancing important existing habitats and ensuring that environmental features which are lost or degraded are compensated for by restoring or creating new habitats; it is a necessary approach to help enable the recovery of nature across England in light of the ecological emergency we are facing.
The council have been requiring net gain from development for some years now, but new legislation has now come into force that makes it a statutory obligation.
On 12 February 2024 mandatory biodiversity net gain commenced for major development under Schedule 7A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as inserted by Schedule 14 of the Environment Act 2021).
Small site development includes residential development where the number of dwellings is between 1 and 9, or if unknown the site area is less than 0.5 hectares, and commercial development where floor space created is less than 1,000 square metres or the total site area is less than 1 hectare. For small sites, mandatory BNG will commence from 2 April 2024.
Please note, for small sites, the council’s interim BNG Guidance for developers still applies until the mandatory requirement commences on 2 April 2024.
Please refer to the council’s current guidance for further information on the BNG webpage.
The council's Countryside Design Summary explains the design relationship between the borough’s landscape, settlement patterns and buildings. It provides design criteria against which any future development can be assessed and aims to ensure that careful consideration is given to the way in which new development will relate to its surroundings. The CDS now forms part of the council’s Design and Sustainability SPD (Appendix 14).
You can download a copy of the Countryside Design Summary below.
Government guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that valued landscapes should be protected and enhanced, and the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside should be recognised.
The 2021 Landscape Character Assessment identifies and explains the unique combination of elements and features that make landscapes distinctive by mapping and describing character types and areas. Twenty landscape character areas have been identified, reflecting similarities in underlying geology, land cover, appearance and historic development. The assessment also shows how the landscape is perceived, experienced and valued by people.
This Landscape Character Assessment will be used as evidence to help guide and assist in spatial planning and development management decisions within the borough, to ensure that the distinctive character of the Borough is retained, and change is accommodated in a positive way.
The Basingstoke and Deane Landscape Character Assessment can be downloaded below.
A Landscape Sensitivity Study of sites promoted through the Strategic Housing, Economic and Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) has been produced by consultants. The approach to this study follows guidance provided by Natural England, which takes into account best practice and the latest Landscape Institute guidance. The methodology used determines landscape sensitivity as a combination of landscape and visual susceptibility, and value. Sites assessed to have lesser landscape sensitive could best accommodate development or change, with the least undesirable visual or landscape impacts.
This assessment is being used, alongside other evidence base studies, to inform the technical assessment of sites being considered for development through the Local Plan Update process.
For more information please email NaturalEnvironmentTeam@basingstoke.gov.uk or call 01256 845261.
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