In February 2023, the House of Lords Built Environment Committee published a consultation on The Impact of Environmental Regulations on Development.
The consultation comes only a few months before the introduction of mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) in November this year and nearly two years after the passing of the Environment Act that brought in mandatory BNG of 10% in 2021, this consultation is topical.
In order to create a response, IEMA hosted a small workshop that included IEMA members and outside experts, many of whom were from the development sector and included local authority representation. A summary of the recommendations put forward are as follows:
- Information, guidance and practical examples from Government needs to be provided in a timely fashion (more quickly than it currently does) to support stakeholders to feel confident to start to implement and take advantage of new environment requirements.
- There is a lot going on in the environmental space and helping stakeholders find the right information quickly is essential. Regulations, requirements, and their relationships across Government agencies should be better communicated by using, for example, websites for stakeholders with easy links to relevant environmental regulations and guidance, including within and across nations.
- It is essential that Local authorities are resourced and upskilled sufficiently to undertake environmental monitoring to ensure good outcomes for the environment.
- Environmental regulations cannot always primarily be seen as a cost but considered, communicated, and treated like an investment in resources for the future and in the economy.
Other responses to the consultation included Natural England themselves. They emphasised the need to tackle potential biodiversity loss at the front end of the development process to ensure better outcomes for nature at the end. They suggest that ‘proper’ resourcing of local authority planning is necessary.
You can find IEMA’s full response here.
Posted on 26th April 2023
Written by Lesley Wilson
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