If you have submitted a planning proposal that could have an effect on protected wildlife, their habitat or other key habitat you will need to submit a Biodiversity Impact Statement (BIS).
Biodiversity and development – key principles
In Jersey one of the principal threats to wildlife (biodiversity) is the pressure arising from land use. The loss of biodiversity, and the potential negative environmental impact, runs contrary to the aims and objectives of sustainable development and the Jersey Island Plan. Development should be designed to lead to a net gain of biodiversity and should enhance local conditions. Whilst new development and change are desirable and inevitable, this change should be sustainable.
The quality of the natural environment is one of Jersey's principal assets. The state of the environment is also a key indicator of sustainability.
Due to the Island's geographical position between mainland Britain and Europe, and our favourable climate, Jersey has a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Many of these are of international importance and are therefore protected by local legislation.
Jersey has recognised its responsibility towards the protection of its unique biological heritage on a local and international scale. The Island is a party to a number of international environmental agreements, including the Convention on Biological Diversity which encourages parties to develop strategies and action plans for the conservation of species and habitats.
Future development in Jersey will play a key role in maintaining and enhancing the status of habitats and species.
The level of detail you will need to provide
The information you provide in the BIS should be sufficient to enable an informed decision to be made about the potential impact of your proposal on wildlife and their habitats. It should identify:
- what lives on the development site
- how the site is used
- ways in which this use can be supported and maintained
The level of detail provided will vary according to factors such as the nature and scale of the proposal and the extent of impact that is likely to be caused.
In some cases the statement will need to be informed by targeted survey work carried out by a competent person with suitable qualifications and experience.
The statement may also need to include an explanation of measures that will be taken to remove or reduce any identified impacts (eg a species or habitat protection plan), but no more than is necessary to reach an informed decision about the impact of your proposal on biodiversity.
If you consider there to be little or no impact, the reasons for this should be set out and justified in your BIS.
Information your BIS should include
You should describe and include any relevant information about the site, including:
- previous land use and site history
- existing ecological records in and adjacent to the site such as data from the Jersey Biodiversity Centre, and / or the findings of a walkover survey of the site
- identify any protected species or species of conservation interest, and evaluate the importance of those populations and explain how they will be protected
- provide an assessment of the potential or actual impacts likely to be caused by your proposal on biodiversity (these should include both direct and indirect effects both during construction and afterwards)
- demonstrate how the design of the proposed development has been shaped by a consideration of biodiversity and how adverse impacts have been avoided or reduced, or where residual impacts are unavoidable, what compensation is provided
In addition, proposals are to be encouraged that will enhance, restore or add to, features or habitats used by protected species.
Where a protected species or key habitat is known or thought to exist on or within 200m of the application site, and the development is likely to affect it, you will need to seek advice from an appropriately qualified and experienced person.
A qualified ecologist will have the specialist skills required to undertake the biodiversity assessment and to ensure that the right type of information is included within the BIS.
This may include the carrying out of species survey work according to good practice; in some cases the ecologist may be able to demonstrate that adverse impacts can be avoided without the need for further surveys.
The engagement of an experienced ecologist, at an early stage in the design process, will assist in enabling the proposed development to be adapted to prevent harm.
Where impacts are unavoidable, the ecologist will ensure mitigation measures appropriate to the species and nature of impact, including compensation if required, are included within the statement.