Developers may have to enhance wildlife habitats, says Gove
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Developers may have to enhance wildlife habitats, says Gove

Developers could be obliged to enhance wildlife habitats when building houses or commercial property, under new government proposals.

A mandatory “biodiversity net gain” requirement could be put in place, meaning developers would have to leave habitats better off for wildlife than before any construction work.

The plan, applying to developments covered by the Town and Country Planning Act in England, is in a recently launched consultation running until 10 February. In circumstances where green improvements, such as tree planting or local nature area creation, were not possible, developers could be charged a levy to pay for habitat creation or improvement elsewhere.

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said: “Our commitment to protecting and enhancing our natural world can go hand in hand with [building] more high-quality homes. Mandating biodiversity net gain puts the environment at the heart of planning and development.”

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