Planning with nature

Helping planning processes across Greater Lincolnshire make the most of opportunities for nature.

Spatial planning by Local Authorities is at the heart of landscape and settlement change. The publication of the Environment Act 2022 and the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan (2023) has marked a shift away from the “no net loss” approach when it comes to the natural environment and a move towards nature recovery with the introduction of mandatory biodiversity net gain, local nature recovery strategies and the nature recovery network.

This shift has been influenced by both the climate and biodiversity crises and the challenges they represent locally and across the world and also by a greater understanding of the value that nature, in the form of green or blue infrastructure, has for the built environment and the communities which live within in it. For example, vegetation within an urban setting improves air quality and reduces the risk of high temperatures, while the provision of accessible green spaces has benefits for health and wellbeing and an increase in permeable surfaces provided by natural space lowers the risk of flooding.

The GLNP doesn’t respond to individual planning applications, but works closely with planning partners to ensure the value of the natural environment in planning is recognised and included within planning decisions ensuring that the enhancement of nature is a theme across the sector.

The GLNP does this by supporting Local Planning Authorities in their decision making by providing them with the evidence and data they need.  We also work closely with Local Plan Teams across Greater Lincolnshire to ensure that local planning policy includes their statutory commitments to the enhancement of the natural environment, through robust policy on themes such as biodiversity, mandatory biodiversity net gain and green infrastructure, as well as taking full account of the value nature has in meeting multiple objectives within the planning system, using a natural capital approach.

The GLNP also responds to local and national consultations on planning policy and legislation.

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Recently, the Nature Partnership has been focussing on understanding both the implications and opportunities presented by biodiversity net gain.

The Environment Bill sets out the Government's intention to introduce mandatory net gain requirements and we are currently looking at how local policies could help to deliver this.

The agreement of a planning position statement has been a vital step in the GLNP’s ability to respond to consultation and influence others.

Since its publication in 2014, the GLNP has responded to in excess of 40 consultations from local plans to national policy and there has been evidence that those responses have had an impact.

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