Colchester Council invites landowners to propose land for BNG

Colchester City Council is inviting landowners to propose land within the Colchester district for offsite biodiversity net gain (BNG).

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The ‘call for sites’ is an opportunity to suggest sites to be considered, to inform the preparation of the council’s Local Plan.

All sites will be assessed further, and the council says its overall strategy for the Local Plan will be informed by evidence-based documents and consultation feedback.

Submitting a site through the call for sites process does not give the project planning permission or determine future planning status.

The council said it is only accepting land put forward for BNG and it will only accept sites from those who own or have an option on the land. 

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Additional revenue stream?

New legislation which came into force earlier this year meant developers in England are now legally required to deliver 10% biodiversity net gain when building new housing, industrial or commercial developments.

Previously, developers only had to offset any damage to biodiversity, but regulations now require the additional 10% gain.  

If applicants cannot provide this extra 10% on site, they will need to purchase BNG units off site, which is where the opportunity lies for landowners.

READ MORE: BNG: Could your farm benefit from new legislation?

Whilst there have been ongoing concerns about loss of food producing land, the new rules were welcomed by many – as BNG can offer landowners an additional revenue stream from less productive land. 

Mark Russell, partner at Carter Jonas, said at the time: “The introduction of mandatory BNG has been a long time coming but will now open opportunities for landowners who are interested in the natural capital markets.

“Selling units is a big commitment as the land must stay in the scheme for a minimum of 30 years, so decisions should be made within the context of a long-term strategy for the farm or estate.”

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Submitting a site

You can submit a site in the Colchester district through the council’s public consultation website. 

Alternatively, you can download a PDF form to complete and email it to local.plan@colchester.gov.uk or post it to Planning Policy, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester, CO3 3WG. 
 
The council asks applicants to provide as much detail and information as possible in their submission. 

All submissions will go through a validation process and the council will contact you if it requires further information. 

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