The Law Society has responded to DEFRA’s consultation on biodiversity net gain. Their response supports the government's aims set out in the consultation and argues that the best way to achieve a consistent framework for business, which provides clarity and certainty through a streamlined process (the consultation objectives), is to mandate net gain in the planning process through a clear legal duty which is subject to prescribed exemptions.
The response also argues:
- the tariff revenue should be collected locally (for example, through a local authority);
- the tariff revenue should be spent through a blended model, allowing spending at both local and national levels; and
- if a dispute is only over biodiversity net gain requirements, then the planning appeal system, as currently operated, would be an inefficient way of settling matters that would likely result in the stalling or abandonment of developments.
Further, the response agrees that there should be exemptions from mandatory net gain, particularly for small developments (unless the adverse biodiversity impact is significant), permitted development and developments where planning gain requirements are already very large.
The Society's full response can be read here.