Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document

Ended on the 22 March 2023
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(3) Chapter 9: Conclusion

We are in a climate and ecological emergency and the time to act is now. All development proposals should strive to achieve ambitious carbon reductions, biodiversity enhancement and promotion of active travel to contribute towards Colchester becoming a greener city that is resilient to the climate and ecological emergency. The Council is committed to firm action, from setting an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2030 to driving forward a significant programme of environmental stewardship to sustain and enhance biodiversity and invest in cleaner, greener, renewable energy project.

The UK governments 25 Year Plan and Environment Act 2021 show the direction we are headed nationally in terms of driving nature's recovery and providing wider environmental benefits. Colchester City Council will lead the way in supporting nature's recovery, biodiversity enhancement and biodiversity net gain through the principles in this SPD and through the policy requirement for measurable biodiversity net gain of at least 10% now – ahead of the national mandatory requirement.

Specialist ecological advice from a suitably qualified expert should be sought at the earliest stage in terms of assessing and collating the scope of biodiversity information required to support an application and how to incorporate biodiversity enhancement and biodiversity net gain into development proposals.

Colchester's natural environment is extremely diverse and important. The Council encourages applicants to maximise opportunities for the provision and connection of green-blue infrastructure, including wildlife corridors, and the incorporation of the biodiversity design principles.

All development proposals must follow the mitigation hierarchy. Adequate information about important species, habitats, and geological features, through independent ecological surveys carried out by suitably qualified experts, must be provided by applicants when submitting planning applications. The Council will take a precautionary approach when deciding on the level of information required.

To create space for nature, the design principles set out in this SPD should be included in all development proposals. These design principles will ensure that beneficial biodiversity conservation features are incorporated into development and opportunities for the preservation, restoration, enhancement, and connection of natural habitats are maximised, in accordance with Policy ENV1 of the Colchester Local Plan. These design principles will also result in high quality design that has positive outcomes on health and wellbeing

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