We have four key workstreams on planning and the environment: Biodiversity Net Gain, Nutrient Neutrality, Nature Recovery and Protected Sites Strategies. We are also looking at how to help councils join this all together to plan for a better environment.

A empty forest with variety of trees

Planning reform, the Environment Act and Environmental Improvement Plan, and the Government’s broader consideration of land use in England, provide significant opportunities for planning to play a key role in meeting Government’s aspiration to create a better environment for future generations.

And yet we know from our work with Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), that this is a complex agenda requiring integrated, coordinated approaches to achieve multifunctional benefits from the use of land. As we await further regulations and guidance from Government, we think it is important that LPAs can learn from each other and share their experience of what ‘planning for a better environment’ looks like. Whilst it is still early days, there is a lot of good practice out there. We have pulled together our work to make connections between our various environmental planning work programmes, draw together and share insights and experience from a range of LPAs, and provide a range of tools and products on our Planning for a Better Environment webpages.

PAS has been commissioned by Defra, DLUHC and Natural England to support councils on three key work areas relating to planning and the environment:

  • Biodiversity Net Gain: helping local authorities prepare for mandatory net gain commencing in January 2024.
  • Nature Recovery: helping local authorities to get ready for delivering the Nature Recovery Network and Local Nature Recovery Strategies and sharing best practice.
  • Nutrient Neutrality: supporting local planning authorities in water catchments affected by this issue.
  • Protected Site Strategies: engaging local authorities, in the PSS development process as the next tool for nature recovery.

In addition to the above, PAS did some work in 2022 on Environmental Outcome Reports (EOR) and you can read more about that here.

We have a practitioner network for local authority officers interested in BNG, which meets every 6-8 weeks and for which we host an online discussion forum. Please fill out this Microsoft Form if you would like to join.

You can also check out the Planning for a Better Environment section of the PAS KHub forum and sign up to the PAS newsletter.