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Stevenage Borough Council launches Biodiversity Consultation

The promotion of biodiversity and nature has always been a priority of the Council and recently we updated our Biodiversity Action Plan to show how we will maintain biodiversity conservation and improvement.

We also want to make sure that developers meet their requirements to conserve and enhance biodiversity in our town through their proposed schemes.

To this end, we are consulting on a new planning document which sets out how developers should incorporate biodiversity into their proposed schemes or alternatively provide financial contributions to the Council to implement biodiversity improvements on their behalf

It has been prepared in partnership with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and is the first of its kind in Hertfordshire. The Consultation runs from 30 November 2020 to 25 January 2021

Members of the public may have their say on the Council’s planning consultation portal at https://stevenage-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/ or by emailing Planning.Policy@Stevenage.gov.uk

John Gardner, Executive Member for the Environment and Regeneration, said: “Stevenage Borough Council has for a number of years been working in partnership with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to improve the biodiversity of our town and welcomed the Government’s 2018 Environment 25 year Plan calling for a net gain policy of biodiversity in all new developments. Biodiversity is one of the best indicators of a balanced and sustainable community, also helping to address the challenges of climate change. This draft SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) is offered for public consultation and support to help developers meet the objectives of the “10% Net Gain” biodiversity policy for the benefit of future generations.”

In addition, with a significant level of growth and development planned in the coming years, the council wants to ensure that developers provide mitigation against the impacts of their proposed schemes.

This will involve developers providing, or contributing funds towards, infrastructure and public services within the town, which could include the construction of roads/cycleways, or the provision of land for additional schools or health facilities.

Other mitigation will also include the use of good design to provide sports facilities, open spaces, community facilities and opportunities for residents to use sustainable transport as part of our attempt to combat climate change.

We are consulting on a new planning document which sets out how developers will be expected to contribute to Stevenage’s infrastructure and services when implementing planning permissions in the future.

This is in addition to the Council’s adoption of a Community Infrastructure Levy earlier this year which aims to fund infrastructure more widely across the borough.

Consultation runs from 30 November 2020 to 25 January 2021. Have your say on the Council’s planning consultation portal or email your thoughts to Planning.Policy@Stevenage.gov.uk

Cllr John Gardner, added: “We are pleased to offer this draft SPD for public consultation and support, to both clarify and increase public transparency of the valued financial contributions developers are required to make towards the essential infrastructure required for all developments. A key feature within the document is a requirement for Developers to ensure a portion of the construction jobs and apprenticeships associated with their development are available to local residents for the benefit of Stevenage.