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Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document

Meeting: 29/06/2021 - Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee (Item 29)

29 Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document pdf icon PDF 348 KB

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Matter for Decision

The report referred to the new Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document (BSPD) which had been drafted in consultation with Members and technical officers of the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning (GCSP) and headed toward public consultation prior to amendment and later proposed adoption by this Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council under the auspices of GCSP.


Once adopted, the SPD will provide guidance to users on how to meet the current policy requirements to protect and enhance biodiversity through the planning process as set out in existing Local Plan policy, and national legislation.


Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport.

  i.  Approved the BSPD for public consultation phase to begin in July 2021.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable


Scrutiny Considerations


The Committee received a report from the Natural Environment Team Leader.


In response to comments made by the Committee the Natural Environment Team Leader said the following:

  i.  For the public to acknowledge the prospects that could be gained for biodiversity through development it was important to recognise the net gain opportunities. 

  ii.  An SPD was to set out the detail of the planning document and was not full of aspirations; these aspirations could form part of the new local plan which was currently being developed through policies.

  iii.  There had to be a balance of what could be achieved through current legislation and future ambitions when developing the SPD. It was hoped this had been achieved but if it were felt that more could be done this could be looked at in future. 

  iv.  The SPD had been developed through national legislation, particularly the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 which was where measurable biodiversity net gain policy derives. The SPD also highlighted new polices which had come forward.

  v.  As there was no current SPD, biodiversity matters were negotiated on a case by case basis.

  vi.  Had been advised that in the forthcoming Environmental Bill there would be financial provision for delivery of biodiversity net gain which would be made available to local authorities at district level.

 vii.  Confirmed that there were specific Cambridge City Councillors which officers had sought engagement on the outline SPD, these were the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport (Councillor Thornburrow) and the Chair of the Environment and Community Scrutiny  Committee (Councillor H Davies).

viii.  The consultation period would run from 23 July and had been extended to mid-September due to the summer period.


The Head of New Communities said the following:

  i.  The SPD had to meet certain regulations. But in addition, there was good practice currently undertaken with new developments around Cambridge. Officers would be looking at case studies on biodiversity over the next year to demonstrate those opportunities gained thorough biodiversity.

  ii.  Through the consultation process members of the public had the opportunity to express their opinion but did not think there was enough time to include additional information on enforcement. However, comments from members of the public had been noted and would be looked at.


The Committee


The Committee unanimously endorsed the Officers recommendation.


The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport approved the recommendation.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.