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Biodiversity Appraisal in Dorset

You may need to have an ecological survey carried out by a suitably qualified person prior to applying for planning permission.

Steps to follow

  1. first, find out from the local planning team whether you need an ecological survey for your application
  2. have an ecological survey by a qualified and experienced consultant
  3. submit the ecology report, a completed standard Biodiversity Mitigation & Enhancement Plan (BMEP) form and payment to the Natural Environment Team (NET)
  4. the BMEP and ecology report is reviewed by the NET who liaise with the consultant to agree any amendments required, with a view to issuing a Certificate of Approval
  5. either; a Certificate of Approval will be released, or the NET will return the BMEP exampling why it will not be approved
  6. the report, signed BMEP and Certificate of Approval should be submitted to the planning authority alongside the other application documents
  7. if planning permission is granted, the BMEP becomes a condition and you must comply with all measures stated in the BMEP

Where a Biodiversity Appraisal is needed

Dorset Local Planning Authorities routinely ask for a Biodiversity Appraisal accompanied by an approved Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plan (BMEP) to be submitted with a planning application. A word version can be requested from the Natural Environment Team. This applies to all development sites of 0.1ha or greater in size or where there are known protected species or important habitats/habitat features. More specifically, a BMEP is required for a greenfield or brownfield site greater than 0.1ha, which isn't already being used as a residential or business premises. A BMEP covers habitat as well as protected species matters.

Rural barns

A BMEP will also be required for any sized site affecting a rural barn where the BMEP should be used to secure nesting or roosting opportunities for Barn Owl.

Bat surveys

Dorset Local Planning Authorities will also routinely ask for a bat survey if a development involves the following:

  • any building or structure with an existing bat record or subject to a report of bat activity
  • demolition of an existing house
  • conversion of house attic space - includes installation of roof lights or dormer windows
  • house extensions that tie-in to an existing enclosed roof space
  • renovation or conversion of derelict building (structures with roofs)
  • conversion or demolition of agricultural barns / farm buildings (structures with roofs)

If evidence of bats is discovered a standardised BMEP will need to be completed, and submitted with a planning application.

Guidance documents

Biodiversity Appraisal in Dorset is designed to meet the requirements of the Natural England Protected Species Standing Advice.

The Scope of Biodiversity Appraisal in Dorset

Development requiring Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), or development affecting recognised wildlife sites:

  • European / international sites (SAC, SPA, Ramsar)
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI)
  • Local Nature Reserves (LNR)

Is outside the scope of this Biodiversity Appraisal process. In these circumstances, the Dorset planning teams will consult conservation organisations after submission of an application. The planning authority may condition a BMEP as a means of clearly identifying and securing mitigation and enhancement measures for developments affecting recognised wildlife sites.

For further advice and enquiries please contact the Natural Environment Team.

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