The Chief Planner at the Planning Directorate (Welsh Government), Neil Hemington, has written to Planning Authorities highlighting the need to secure biodiversity enhancement as part of the consideration of development proposals.
The letter clarifies the duty laid out in Planning Policy Wales 10 which requires that planning authorities “maintain and enhance biodiversity in the exercise of their functions. This means that development should not cause any significant loss of habitats or populations of species, locally or nationally and must provide a net benefit for biodiversity.”
Where biodiversity enhancement is not proposed as part of an application, significant weight will be given to its absence, and unless other significant material considerations indicate otherwise it will be necessary to refuse permission.
The Chief Planner also emphasised the need for biodiversity and ecosystem resilience considerations to be taken into account at an early stage in development plan preparation.
The letter is also available in Welsh.