Evidence presented by Aspect Ecology at appeal in regard to SANGS and Biodiversity Net Gain leads to grant of planning permission at two sites

January 2023

We welcome the New Year with news that both appeal schemes Aspect Ecology’s Senior Director Alistair Baxter presented evidence at in November 2022 have been granted permission.

The first site is located in East Sussex within 7km of the Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) and third parties had raised objections that the project Shadow Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) had not set out evidence as to the effectiveness of Suitable Accessible Natural Greenspace (SANG) as a mitigation measure to offset recreational effects on the European Designation. Alistair presented evidence at the Hearing as to the available evidence but moreover put forward the case that, given SANG is such a long established and well proven mitigation measure, that continues to be actively rolled out across the country, that it is not necessary to rehearse the evidence base for its use in each and every HRA. The Inspector agreed with Alistair’s evidence and granted planning permission.

More details of the appeal decision can be found here

Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area

The second site is located in Buckinghamshire. Ecology had been cited as a reason for refusal by Buckinghamshire Council on the basis that the ‘information provided was insufficient to demonstrate that the proposed development would result in a measurable net gain in biodiversity’. The ecological work for the application had been undertaken by another ecologist, however to address the Reason for Refusal, Aspect Ecology was appointed. We undertook a full review of the scheme so as to accurately document the current biodiversity baseline, including updated high resolution habitat surveying and mapping. This new data was taken forward for assessment using Biodiversity Metric 3.1 and Aspect Ecology recommended a range of additional scheme design enhancements were included to achieve a biodiversity net gain (BNG) in excess of 10%. The outcome of this work was presented in a detailed Update Habitat Survey and Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment report which was submitted to the Council in advance of the Hearing. Upon consideration of Aspect Ecology’s updated work, the Council agreed that the appeal scheme achieved a net gain for biodiversity and accordingly withdrew the Reason for Refusal. Following evidence presented by Alistair at the Hearing, the Inspector also agreed that Aspect Ecology’s work demonstrated that the scheme achieved a net gain for biodiversity and the appeal proposals were successfully granted permission.

More details of the appeal decision can be found here

Biodiversity Net Gain

Follow Aspect Ecology on LinkedIn for all our latest news LinkedIn Page