Online Tools and Resources for Developers

Read our summary of the online tools and resources for developers of all sizes, to help in considering biodiversity at all stages of a development.


National Planning Framework 4

Developing with Nature by NatureScot has been developed to assist developers in thinking about how to provide additional benefits for biodiversity when planning a development.

Local Authority Planning Policy and Advice

Local Development Plan policy is the starting point for the local framework of protection of species and habitats for Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray Council areas.

Supplementary Guidance, Technical Advice Notes and Planning Advice, gives a detailed guide to what we are aiming for and advice on required surveys for species and habitats for Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray.

Finding an Ecological Consultant

Depending on what your proposal is you may need specialist surveys and advice from an Ecological Consultant. The Chartered Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Managers (CIEEM) have an easily searched database of professional ecologists. CIEEM also detail the competencies an ecologist should have for a particular species surveys.

Thinking Ahead – Timing of Species Surveys

Surveys for many protected species have a limiting time window.  Aberdeen City Council have produced a Survey Calendar (based around the NatureScot survey calendar) to assist with timing of species surveys. Programming in surveys at the earliest possible opportunity will both inform the development proposal and prevent any delays.

Let’s include Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure can mean many different things from open space with trees and wildflowers to green roofs, rain gardens and SUDs schemes with native planting . It is an essential component of sustainable land-use planning and design.

Some helpful guides include:

Green Infrastructure in Design and Placemaking
Local Green Infrastructure
Green Infrastructure – an integrated approach to land use

Greener Gardens – An Introduction to Raingardens for Developers

NatureScot’s guide to Pollinators in Planning and Construction

The Town and Country Planning Association’s Good practice guidance for green infrastructure and biodiversity

Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Fact Sheet

Green Networks are good for wildlife and people

Even small scale development can contribute to our green networks. Landscaping, trees belts, riverside planting, planting along core paths and roadside verges can all contribute and are encouraged.

How can your Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDs) support local wildlife?

SUDS design and planting can make a significant contribution towards Green Infrastructure, providing areas for suitable locally native plants. Schemes can also include species protection measure like adding amphibian ladders for gully pots.

SUDs design is covered in detail in the CIRIA SUDs Manual, which has a chapter on Designing for biodiversity.

NatureScot advice

NatureScot are a statutory consultee for Environmental Impact Assessment and proposals which may impact on some designated sites. They are the Licencing Authority for European Protected Species and other species requiring licencing.  They also provide a wide range of useful guidance for developers.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) advice

SEPA provide advice and guidance for developers on a wide range of environmental issues.


Protecting Species and Habitats – Wildlife Assessment Checklist

The Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning has created the Wildlife Assessment Check. The tool will give you a quick and simple assessment of the habitats and species that may need to be considered on your site. Please have a go and let us know what you think of the tool.


Calculate Biodiversity Net Gain

The principle of enhancement of biodiversity on development sites is embedded in Scottish Planning Policy, Local Authority Local Development Plans deliver this at a local level, promoting biodiversity gains as part of development. For larger sites this can be supported by using a tool to assess Biodiversity Net Gain.  Use of this tool for medium and large scale sites is encouraged, please have a go and let us know what you think of the tool.

Make use of the British Standard on Biodiversity in Planning and Development

Did you know there was a British Standard for Biodiversity in Planning and Development?  This provides advice on considering biodiversity in ALL stages of development and crucially at the very start of the process of design.

Colourful fungi growing in grassy area in front of housing.

Fungi in front of housing © Ian Talboys

Green Networks are good for wildlife and people. Even small scale development can contribute to our green networks. Appropriate tree, shrub and wildflower planting in open space, beside access routes, alongside watercourses and roadside verges and as part of SUDs schemes can all contribute and are encouraged. Green networks can link areas of existing habitat and contribute to biodiversity and human health.

Emma Williams

Environment Planner

Further Information

Information on our habitats

Statements to guide you on our key habitats

Information on key locations

How to safeguard our local wildlife

Information on our species

How to safeguard our local wildlife

Your Biodiversity, Your Wellbeing

Find out why biodiversity is important to you