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Environmental Quality (Ecological emergency)

2.44 An Ecological Emergency has been declared by the council in response to the ongoing threat to wildlife and ecosystems. The declaration recognises the essential role nature plays in society and the economy and provides a statement of intent to protect wildlife and habitats, enabling residents to benefit from a green, nature rich environment.

2.45 The Environment Bill 2019-2021, in support of the 25 Year Environment Plan is currently progressing through Parliament and seeks to introduce legally binding nature, water, air and waste targets from 2022. It proposes to introduce a mandatory requirement for measurable biodiversity net gain in the planning system, to ensure that new developments enhance biodiversity and create new green spaces for local communities. The Environment Bill further proposes introducing provisions requiring the development of Local Nature Strategies across England.

2.46 It is proposed within the Local Plan Partial Update to include updates to biodiversity and green infrastructure policies to support the climate and ecological emergency and introduce new policy as relates to the requirement for biodiversity net gain within new development.