Agenda and minutes

Environment Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 6 February 2024 6.00 pm

Venue: Walker Room, Meeting Point House, Southwater Square, Telford, TF3 4HS

Contact: Sam Yarnall  01952 382193

No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 270 KB


RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.


Biodiversity Net Gain

To receive an update on Biodiversity Net Gain following further Government guidance.

Additional documents:


The Service Delivery Manager: Development Management provided an update on Biodiversity Net Gain following the last formal Committee Meeting held on 29 November 2023 and further guidance received from Central Government. The update summarised that legislation for Biodiversity Net Gain is made under the Environment Act, which came into effect from 2021 to replace previous European legislation. The legislation required a minimum of 10% net gain on most planning applications, which not only conserved the local environment, but enhanced it.


Members were informed that legislation for Biodiversity Net Gain was laid in Parliament on 19 January 2024. The report outlined that under the new legislation, large applications would apply the minimum 10% Net Gain from 4 February 2024 and for smaller applications it would be in force from 2 April 2024. Members were informed that there were some exemptions to this legislation such as if the application was small and self-built and whether an application resulted from the remaining High Speed Rail 2 development.


In terms of planning applications, Members were informed that the conditions for Biodiversity Net Gain would be set out along with any S106 agreement and any additional requirements.


As part of the legislative changes, each local area had net gain specific priorities which were classified as part of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy. At the time of the meeting the strategy was still being worked on and it would be led by Shropshire Council.


Members were informed that as part of this, developers would need to detail how they would be contributing to Biodiversity Net Gain over a 30 year period. During that 30 year period, they would be monitored to ensure that the environment was being conserved.


The report set out that the Council sought to go beyond the 10% standard minimum on applications and look towards a 20% Net Gain. This would incorporate measurable methods to monitor the delivery of Net Gain and there would be a Biodiversity Hierarchy of the environment of which developers would be able to work towards. Members were informed that developers would be able to deliver the Net Gain off-site but were informed that they could incur further costs. The Committee were advised that developers would be able to contribute to Council owned land as part of that off-site net gain.


Following the presentation, Members asked the following questions:-


The Biodiversity Net Gain legislation was a complex concept, how were the environmental units assessed to deliver net gain off-site?


Under the Biodiversity Hierarchy there were different levels of net gain for the type of natural habitat that developers support. This was under an official metric from Natural England and it was currently on its fourth version. Developers would be asked how they would be able to deliver this on-site in the first instance and then look towards off-site delivery if on-site was not possible.


Were there examples of the exact measures that developers would be using to meet the net gain targets?


Members were informed that the exact measures  ...  view the full minutes text for item ENVSC21


Work Programme Review pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To review the updated work programme for the Environment Scrutiny Committee.


The Democracy Officer (Scrutiny) provided an update on the work programme. Members were advised that the work programme was a working document of which items could be added on for the committee’s consideration. Members were informed that the work programme would be discussed amongst the Chair and Officers during the Keeping in Touch Meetings. The Democracy Officer (Scrutiny) informed Members that in relation to the River Pollution working group, Severn Trent had agreed prior to the meeting that they would be able to host a site visit to one of their treatment plants as part of the working group. The Democracy Officer (Scrutiny) informed Members that should they wish to attend the visit, to express their interest by contacting the relevant officers.



Chair's Update


The Chair informed Members that the next scheduled meeting was due to take place on 20 March 2024.