Biodiversity Information for Developers

Opportunities to protect and enhance our biodiversity are best considered at the earliest stage in development proposals, allowing time to explore possibilities before investing in costly designs.

Planning for biodiversity – why does it matter?

Development can have both positive and negative effects on our biodiversity. Well-designed developments in the right places can help to protect and enhance biodiversity for the benefit of all. Developments with high quality environments are known to attract a premium price, are good for people’s health and wellbeing and leave a positive legacy for the community by developers.

Protecting important habitats is the least costly approach in terms of financial outlay and biodiversity loss. Enhancements such as wildflower seeding and tree planting or putting in place a woodland or tree management plan, can often provide significant wildlife value for very low cost.

Developers, local councils and other public bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and SEPA all have an important role to ensure that biodiversity is fully considered in proposals. SNH is a statutory consultee for developments that require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and those that could affect statutory protected nature conservation sites.

Councils, like all public bodies, have a biodiversity duty under the Wildlife and Countryside (Scotland) Act (2011) to further the conservation of biodiversity.  One of the ways in which local councils deliver this duty is through the planning system, with policies to protect and enhance biodiversity in ALL development.

Local authorities are required to carry out Habitat Regulations Appraisals for developments which may affect Natura sites.

Developers – what should you do?

Picture of a short eared owl resting on gorse bush, with a high rise block of flats in the background.

Short Eared Owl © Ian Talboys

Protecting important habitats is the least costly approach in terms of financial outlay and biodiversity loss.

Handy hints

Opportunities to protect and enhance biodiversity are best considered at the earliest stage in development proposals, for example through a pre-application enquiry.  This allows time to explore any issues of concern before investing in costly designs. It also helps with scheduling your habitat and species surveys which are often required during specific seasons.

There is additional specific advice for Aberdeenshire.

Engaging a qualified, competent ecologist early on will ensure you have accurate information and will speed up the planning process.

Where to get advice

Take a look at Tools and guidance for further help.

Contact the relevant local authority for an early discussion:

Deb Munro

Senior Environmental Planner at Aberdeen City Council

Further Information

Information on our habitats

Statements to guide you on our key habitats

Information on key locations

Get to know our important locations

Information on our species

How to safeguard our local wildlife

Your biodiversity, your wellbeing

Find out why biodiversity is important to you