Biodiversity and Planning SPD

About the Biodiversity and Planning SPD

Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - Biodiversity and Planning: guidance for new developments

South Gloucestershire has a rich and varied natural and built environment. However, our natural environment is under considerable pressure from human activities. Pressures on natural habitats and wildlife such as climate change are causing significant impacts, and this includes biodiversity loss.

In July 2019, South Gloucestershire Council declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to provide the leadership to enable the whole area of South Gloucestershire to become carbon neutral by 2030, and to restore nature in response to the Nature Emergency. This SPD supports the delivery of the council’s Climate and Nature Emergency work and commitments through updating how the council undertakes its statutory planning functions.

This SPD provides information to support existing Local Plan policies to ensure that biodiversity is adequately conserved, enhanced and achieves a measurable Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) throughout the development process, taking account of the emerging legislative framework set by the Environment Act (2021). In particular, it sets out how the council is seeking to encourage a 10% Biodiversity Net Gain from appropriate developments following the introduction of the Environment Act in November 2021, which will eventually become mandatory in November 2023.

The purpose of the SPD is to explain:

  • what biodiversity is and why it is important
  • the legislative framework, which includes the new Environment Act (2021), and how this governs biodiversity considerations that must be taken into account in the planning process
  • the council’s commitment to support nature recovery
  • existing policies on the natural environment and biodiversity within the South Gloucestershire Core Strategy 2006-2027 (adopted December 2013) and the Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan (adopted November 2017)
  • when and where biodiversity is likely to need protecting in South Gloucestershire
  • what Biodiversity Net Gain and the Nature Recovery Network are in planning terms
  • what South Gloucestershire Council expects to be included and addressed within any planning application
  • the planning process detailing the information that needs to be submitted at each stage
  • how to build and integrate biodiversity into all stages of the planning, design, and development process
  • how to incorporate biodiversity into a development by providing an illustrative best practice design guide.

The draft SPD is open for public consultation from Friday 15 July to Friday 9 September 2022.

Find out more

To find out more you can:

How to have your say

You can send us your feedback by:

  • Emailing us at
  • Write to: South Gloucestershire Council Insights and Engagement Team, Council Offices, Badminton Road, Yate, Bristol,  BS37 5AF

This consultation has now closed and we are analysing the results, which will be published here in due course.


  • Opened
    15 Jul 2022 at 10:00
  • Closed
    9 Sep 2022 at 23:59


Consultation Topic
  • Planning policy & strategy
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Target Audience
  • All residents