Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Why Environmental Issues Are a Crucial Part of Getting Planning Permission in the UK


Getting planning permission has never been the most straightforward process in the UK; however, the requirements have certainly changed over time. With things like the Environmental Act, which was made official in 2021, and the Environmental Bill which preceded it, the UK government has been trying to find a good balance between the need for construction projects which address housing needs, creating employment, and improving infrastructure, versus preserving the natural flora and fauna found in the many different habitats around the UK.

There is no doubt that a good understanding of environmental and nature related concerns is more or less essential in planning any kind of development project in the UK right now. Here, we are going to look at why that is, as well as what people seeking planning permission can do to make sure they have the best chance of getting their projects approved. We'll also discuss what the advantages are of taking nature into account when planning a new development for both the UK itself, and for the developers.

Read on to find out more:

Why Are Nature and Biodiversity Related Policies Important?

The need for policies relating to how building projects affect the surrounding environments and the creatures and plants that live in them was identified decades ago. We need to build things, but we also don't want to see a loss in terms of the plant and animal life we have in the UK.

Issues like preserving species that are endangered or under threat have become more important to the public over time. Of course, as well as not wanting to lose species due to development work, we also need to maintain certain elements of the nature around us. Imbalances in food chains can cause overpopulations of certain creatures. Loss of forestry and other natural environments can mean we have less access to resources we use for all sorts of purposes. Plus, losing out on appealing wild environments because of construction can simply mean we no longer have the chance to enjoy those places, or the activities we enjoy doing in them, like hiking, fishing, and camping.

The Environment Act and related policies may feel restrictive when it comes to getting planning permission for new projects. However, with the right experts on your side — for instance, getting habitat surveys from Arbtech, who are experts in advising on developments of all sizes when it comes to ecological matters — it is more than possible to get all the advantages of a project plan that respects biodiversity while still having your application for planning permission go through without complications.

What Can Developers Do to Make Sure Their Project Goes Smoothly from an Environmental Regulations Point of View?

If you are planning an upcoming UK development project - whether you are looking to build or extend a new home as a private individual or are planning a more commercial development - then getting good ecologists and surveyors on your side is a must. A preliminary ecological assessment is a vital starting point in the process in most locations, as it will allow you to find out what exactly is living on the land you want to develop, and how your plans will impact that ecosystem.

Naturally, some development projects in urban areas with very little plant, insect and animal life will not have the same concerns as those in woodland, coastal or rural places. Nonetheless, understanding and working around what ecological features the land you are developing has is still important. It is now necessary in obtaining planning permission for projects to demonstrate that they will produce a net gain in terms of biodiversity, which has to be at 10% or more. This is something developers will need to be aware of and work with ecologists to ensure if they want to get approval to start building.

However, it needn't be a hindrance with the right expertise working with the developers from the early stages. Preliminary assessments that discover just what the environment you are dealing with has in it can be an important part of this process.

What Are the Advantages of Environmental Impact Policies for the UK?

There are a lot of reasons why it is seen as important for developers to assess environmental impact and demonstrate that their projects will provide a gain in terms of ecology, and these are things that benefit the country as a whole as well as the wildlife the policies in question look to preserve.

As you might expect, one of these is simply that it makes things more visually appealing, interesting and unique. Keeping the UK's wildlife is part of maintaining what makes the country special. It also, of course, promotes the continuation of species that had become endangered, and allows other species to thrive. We additionally need our plant life to provide oxygen, and to get resources from, like wood, which can be a renewable source of energy as well as a material.

There are other benefits to taking care of our natural environments while we are developing too, such as making it easier for scientists to learn more about the world around us by studying them, and just the fact that many people enjoy experiencing the nature of the UK.

What Are the Advantages for Developers?

There are benefits to environmental and ecological policies for developers, too. For commercial developers, it can be a real advantage to be able to show investors and customers that projects are green and environmentally sensitive. The public is generally quite concerned about the environment, and so new developments that can demonstrate that they have taken care to protect or even improve the ecological state of the land they build on can be very appealing.

If you are seeking out planning permission for an upcoming project, there is no need to be bewildered by the ecological elements to the requirements. With expert surveyors working with you, the process is not so difficult. It is important though, to remember just why these steps are important, and just how they can benefit both your project, and the future of the UK. 

Font size: +

Contact us

Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
United Kingdom
Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames