It identifies habitats and species in the Borough that are of national, regional and local importance and outlines a plan of action for their protection, management and enhancement.
The purpose of the strategy
Woodland and Scrub
Rivers and Wetlands
Parks and Green Spaces
Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Net Gain
An explanation of Sutton's Biodiversity Strategy: 2020-2025
If you have comments on the Biodiversity Strategy, please contact the Biodiversity Team.
Biodiversity Net Gain
implement its Biodiversity Action Plan and agri-environment schemes. Major new development should result in no net loss in biodiversity value, as assessed against the DEFRA biodiversity offsetting metric, the Environment Bank Biodiversity Impact Calculator or any metric which the council subsequently adopts formally. New development should incorporate opportunities to enhance biodiversity, wherever possible."
How does it work?
When considering development sites, there will need to be an assessment of the existing biodiversity value of the site ('Biodiversity Accounting'). This uses a 'biodiversity metric' to calculate the value of each habitat and its condition, based on the professional judegment and evidence submitted by a Suitably Qualified Ecologist within a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal or equivalent report, to support a planning application. This is termed the biodiversity 'baseline' for the site, pre-development and is in 'biodiversity units' or parts thereof.
The post-development score for the development site is generated through detailed consideration of the retention of habitats and the creation or enhancement of new habitats, including soft landscaping, green infrastrcuture and specific habitat creation or enhancement (woodland, grassland etc.) within the 'biodiversity metric'.
The post-development value is subtracted from the pre-development 'baseline value' to determine whether Net Loss or Net Gain is likely to be achieved.
Agreement on the baseline and post-development scores should be undertaken with the Biodiversity Team prior to submitting a planning application, to avoid any unnecessary delays.
If Net Loss is the likely outcome, there are two options:
The landscaping is modified to achieve No Net Loss on the development site - this may involve increasing the area(s) of habitat created, installing biodiverse roofs if they were not initially provided etc.
Compensation is paid to make the development acceptable. See 'Biodiversity Tariff' below.
- Any planning permission granted will then provide a mechanism via planning conditions to secure the protection, enhancement and provision of habitat through the development, as agreed with the Biodiversity Team. This will take the form and a Biodiversity Enhancement and Management Plan (BEMP).
- Sutton's adopted management and monitoring period for the delivery of No Net Loss and Net Gain is currently 30 years from the completion date of the habitat to be created.
The Biodiversity Strategy is clear on when a Biodiversity Tariff will be utilised:
"The London Borough of Sutton will utilise Biodiversity Net Gain to maximise on-site mitigation and enhancement for biodiversity, where this provides the best outcomes for nature, including the connectivity of habitats.
However, given the ambitious short and long-term targets outlined in this Biodiversity Strategy, it may be better, ecologically, to accept some Net Loss, on some specific developments, to deliver wider improvements at the landscape scale.
The determination of each development will be on a case-by-case basis to decide on what the ‘best ecological outcome’ may be, which may be to deliver on site or, to fund a habitat creation or restoration project, as outlined within this Strategy.
Any Net Loss allowance will be based on robust consideration of the development and ecological connectivity by the Biodiversity Team. It is not ‘a Licence to Trash’ a site.
The deliberate and / or intentional degrading of a site, through vegetation clearance, neglect etc. to attempt to reduce the baseline units for a forthcoming planning application and circumvent the planning process, will necessitate the estimation of the baseline value of the site, prior to any degradation. This estimation will be based on the best available data." (Appendix B5, 2.1.2 Delivery, pg.66)
'Green infrastructure' (GI) is a term that is used to describe those aspects of urban greening that will enhance nature's ability to deliver multiple valuable ecosystem goods and services, potentially providing a wide range of environmental, social, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and biodiversity benefits. In most cases, this will be through the provision of soft landscaping, the use of biodiverse roofs, living walls and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that have biodiversity as a key part of their design.
The Biodiversity Strategy outlines how Sutton will apply the principles of green infrastructure to developments within Appendix B5, Section 3.2. Importantly, sedum roofs should not be used. The Council wishes to see the creation of 'biodiverse' roofs, as laid out in Policy 33 (33.12) of the Local Plan 2018-2031 and Section 3.2.1 'Living Roofs' of the Biodiversity Strategy.
Section 3.2.4 Species Requirements also includes information on how developments should not only work to protect and enhance habitats but also to provide features for locally important species, including but not limited to swifts, bats, house sparrows and hedgehogs.