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Lift In Ecology Guidance Does Not Mean Lift In Responsibilities

As recent news reveals planned budget cuts for the Environment Agency, certain stakeholders fear a reduction in guidance on ecological issues in planning applications. agb Environmental suggests less guidance does not diminish developer responsibilities.

Featured in a recent article published by The Wildlife Trust, it was suggested that the Government cutbacks could force the Environment Agency to significantly reduce the advice it provides to Local Planning Authorities when considering if a development will impact protected species.

However, with the final decision on all developments still made by the local planning authorities, agb Environmental adheres to its pledge to enable development across the board, providing ecology assessments certified to satisfy the Local Planning Authority.

agb Environmental will continue to ensure that developers are receiving the guidance they need to ensure their development remains within ecological and wildlife law through the recent appointment of an additional Principal Ecologist.

Managing Director of agb Environmental, Alex Brearley, said: “Decreasing the clarity of consultee advice means there is greater risk of a developer falling foul of legislation.

The advice given by the Environment Agency helps to guide developers to meet their requirements. In some cases, this reduced level of guidance means that planning permission and conditions may not include this essential advice.”

Encouraging developers to take into account the whole project from start to finish with any assessment, agb Environmental advises all to seek an ecologist’s opinion sooner rather than later.

The implications that can arise when ecology is not considered until a later stage in the project can have a knock on effect to the whole project with certain species,” explained Alex. “The earlier an ecologist is involved, the easier it is to factor time specific survey considerations into the project and avoid delays further down the line.”

Also introducing a range of benefits to each project, an ecology survey adds toward BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes making it a valuable assessment for many developers.

For further information and to discussion agb Environmental’s ecology services, please contact Alex Brearley on 01638 663226 or email alex@agbenvironmental.co.uk.

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