PAS ran three workshops for local authority planners, one for London Borough officers and one for councillors in May, June & July 2021. The workshops were pitched as providing an introduction to what is happening with the Environment Bill and Biodiversity Net Gain and a chance for attendees to let PAS know what they want and need from our Net Gain Capacity and Skills project. This page provides a summary of outputs from the workshops, including what local authorities are doing now on biodiversity net gain (BNG) and what they need to enable them to be ready for mandatory BNG.
PAS ran three workshops for local authority planners, one for London Borough officers and one for councillors on 25th, 27th May and 9th June, 16th July and 16th June respectively. The workshops provided an introduction to what is happening with the Environment Bill and Biodiversity Net Gain and a chance for attendees to let PAS know what they want and need from our LPA Biodiversity Net Gain Capacity and Skills project. With the exception of the London Borough event, we specifically aimed them at those without ecological expertise.
Presentations from the events are available on our Biodiversity Net Gain front page.
Word cloud from poll of attendees of 25 May 2021 event for planners
Who came along?
Map of BNG workshop attendees by local authority (county council attendees not mapped)
We had representation from 178 different local authorities for the open events pitched at all local authorities, with 230 attendees signed up to the planners’ workshops and 77 councillors attending their event. Sixty-seven officers from 26 London Boroughs signed up for the event targeted at them.
Attendees of the planners’ workshops included both policy and development management planners, as well as heads of planning, ecologists and biodiversity officers, as well as a range of other council roles. We had 223 attendees in planning roles and, of those that provided this information, a significant majority were policy planners rather than development management. Eighteen of those that signed up to the overarching events were ecologists, biodiversity officers or equivalents, whilst we had 15 in these roles and including Environment Managers or equivalent for the London Borough event. 63% of attendees of the overarching planners’ events had worked with or been to a PAS event before.
We did not ask all councillor attendees what their role was but 26 of them answered a pre-workshop call for information and there was a range of roles represented from Portfolio Holders and Cabinet Members for the Environment, Planning Committee Chairs and Members, to Ward Councillors. Just under half of attendees had worked with or been to a PAS event before.
Next steps: our base offer
We have used these workshop outputs to develop a base offer for all local authorities with a focus on four elements:
- Over-arching principles: a planner-focused introduction to BNG and how this complements/fits into core planning work, plus a narrative that goes beyond planning to link to wider local authority objectives, aimed at ‘heads of’, Councillors and others.
- Policy: aimed at policy planners and Councillors, guidance and tools to ensure to ensure that BNG is integrated into planning policy and Local Plans, that policy is supported by evidence, etc.
- Development management: aimed at development management planners and Councillors, guidance and tools to ensure effective decision making for BNG, supporting sound and defendable decisions, etc.
- Implementation: practically focused guidance on resourcing BNG, as well as events to support forthcoming Defra consultations on biodiversity net gain.
We will develop products with the project officer and councillor advisory groups. Please contact Beccy Moberly at PAS if you are from a local authority and interested in joining one of these groups.