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Addressing the nature emergency through the planning system

Updated National Planning Policy for Chapter 6 of Planning Policy Wales.

The main changes to policy can be summarised as follows:

Green infrastructure

Stronger emphasis on taking a proactive approach to green infrastructure:

  • covering cross boundary considerations
  • identifying key outputs of green infrastructure assessments
  • the submission of proportionate green infrastructure statements with planning applications
  • signposting Building with Nature standards

Net benefit for biodiversity and the step-wise approach

Further clarity is provided on securing net benefit for biodiversity through the application of the step-wise approach:

  • the acknowledgement of off-site compensation measures as a last resort
  • the need to consider enhancement and long-term management at each step

The use of the green infrastructure statement to demonstrate the stepwise approach is made explicit.

Protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

Strengthened approach to the protection of SSSIs:

  • increased clarity on the position for site management
  • exemptions for minor development necessary to maintain a ‘living landscape’
  • other development is considered unacceptable as a matter of principle

Trees and woodlands

  • Closer alignment with the stepwise approach
  • Promoting new planting as part of development based on securing the right tree in the right place
  • Every tree felled must be replaced by planting at least 3 trees of a similar type and size

Planning Policy Wales (Edition 12)

Read the full PPW12

Green infrastructure statement

A green infrastructure statement should be submitted with all planning applications.

This will be proportionate to the scale and nature of the development proposed. This should describe how green infrastructure has been incorporated into the proposal.

In the case of minor development this will be a short description. This should not be onerous for applicants.

The statement will be an effective way of demonstrating positive multi-functional outcomes which are appropriate to the site in question.

These must be used for demonstrating the application of the step-wise approach (Paragraph 6.4.21).

Where the adverse effect on biodiversity and ecosystem resilience clearly outweighs other material considerations, the development should be refused.

We have produced a draft template for a GI Statement for minor and householder development purposes.

Further advice

For further advice and guidance please see our pre-application advice services.