15th November 2019

New guide for Planners on Biodiversity in Planning

In the face of growing street protests and alarming news reports about global species decline, what can planning authorities do to address the biodiversity crisis? A new RTPI Practice Advice Note aims to help...

The latest ‘State of Nature’ report shows that, in spite of clear warnings and commitments to local and national targets, trends in the natural world are looking worse than the last review in 2016, with 15% of species threatened with extinction in Great Britain. The RTPI is one of 19 conservation, planning and development organisations involved in the ‘Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning’, a project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, seeking to promote the importance of biodiversity in planning and development. The partners argue that, through better planning and development humanity can both benefit from and live more harmoniously with nature. A new RTPI Practice Advice Note on ‘Biodiversity in Planning’ has been produced by the partnership to highlight some of the key areas that local planning authorities (LPAs) throughout the UK can focus on to fulfil their statutory Biodiversity duty.

The practice advice note provides an overview of the main obligations and opportunities for planners to promote biodiversity through the four UK planning systems. It aims to equip readers with a solid foundation of knowledge about the main challenges relating to biodiversity and provide links to the current national statutory duties and guidance that should be addressed through planning. It offers practical pointers to support the integration of biodiversity into local policy, practice and individual development schemes through a series of good practice examples.

The paper highlights a range of good practice that is already happening throughout the country. Much of this good practice involves collaboration across LPA boundaries and multiple actors. For example, the Mersey Forest Partnership, involves seven LPAs, local business and public agencies in a range of projects, including ten local ‘Friends of the Woodlands’ groups who care for their local woods and have planted over 9 million trees since the beginning of the project in the early 1990s.

Current trends suggest that we need to be doing much more and on a greater scale than ever before to protect and enhance biodiversity, let alone help recover species and habitats back to sustainable levels. This joint publication seeks to outline core requirements and give examples about what is possible, to help stimulate even further local action.

Further information:

The Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

RTPI Biodiversity in Planning Practice Advice Note