If you have submitted a planning application that may affect biodiversity, you will need to submit evidence that the potential impacts have been fully considered. You may need to include measures to avoid, minimise or replace impacts within your development designs.
Key principles of biodiversity and development
Biodiversity is the variety and diversity of life. In Jersey, biodiversity is present everywhere from the centre of town to the surrounding shores.
Any type of development can affect biodiversity, and the loss of biodiversity and potential negative environmental impact goes against the aims and objectives of the Bridging Island Plan 2022-2025.
New developments and change are desirable and inevitable but should be designed sustainably and have consideration for local biodiversity. Development should be designed to leave the natural environment in a better state than beforehand.
Jersey’s geographical position and climate supports a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Many of these species are of international importance and protected by the Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2021. This protection includes:
- dens or roosts
- breeding and resting sites of certain species
Areas of Special Protection designated under the Law provide protection from disturbance to specific species throughout their life cycles.
Key habitats are identified in the Biodiversity Strategy for Jersey 2000 as natural or semi-natural habitats which are at risk due to rarity or if they are in decline. They may also be important for certain key species of plants or animals.
Some of these habitats are legally protected as Sites of Special Interest under the Planning and Building (Jersey) Law 2002. A list and map showing the distribution of Jersey’s natural Sites of Special Interest can be found on Natural site search.
The Island is a party to several international environmental agreements. These include 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 Bridging Island Plan 2022-2025
The Bridging Island Plan 2022-2025 is the main consideration in all planning-related decision-making in Jersey. The Natural Environment chapter of the Plan describes the framework for assessing change that affects Jersey’s natural environment. It covers the Island’s:
- terrestrial and marine biodiversity
- landscape seascape character
In determining a planning application, all potential impacts of a proposed development must be fully considered, including:
- protected species
- protected sites
- key habitats
- other natural heritage
Applicants must demonstrate that their proposals don’t directly or indirectly cause harm to biodiversity. Development should also aim to make a positive contribution to sustainable development by enhancing local conditions to support wildlife.
What information you need to provide
The information you provide with your application should allow for an informed decision to be made about the potential impact of your proposal on wildlife and their habitats.
This will depend on the nature and the scale of your proposal and the extent of impact that may be caused. A qualified ecologist can assist you by confirming the detail needed, and by preparing a report for submission with your application.
For advice on finding an ecologist see the attached PDF below:
A Householders Guide to Engaging an Ecologist
The 2 types of wildlife reports that are advised to use for submission alongside your planning application are the:
- Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) report
- Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) report
The most suitable report will depend on the extent of any biodiversity impacts arising from your proposal.
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) report
A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is an initial scoping assessment to identify ecological features ecological value on and around the development site. This assessment provides an early understanding of any likely biodiversity impacts and how these may be avoided or reduced.
A PEA carried out according to good practice will include:
- a search of local wildlife records for the site and its surroundings from the Jersey Biodiversity Centre
- a walkover of the site to classify and map habitat types present
- an inspection for evidence or signs protected species
A PEA can be undertaken at any time of the year but is best carried out between March and September.
In some cases, the submission of a PEA report with your application will be sufficient. For example, if the assessment has identified minor impacts, these may be avoided by precautionary working methods during construction.
The PEA should also include measures to increase the biodiversity value of the site on completion of the development.
In the case of the initial scoping assessment not providing enough evidence, further ecological surveys may be recommended. It’s vital that you seek advice from a professional ecologist as early as possible, because the best time to survey different species may depend on the season.
More information can be found using the Guidelines for Preliminary Ecological Appraisal.
Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) report
An Ecological Impact Assessment will be needed if there are likely biodiversity impacts that cannot be avoided through precautionary methods.
The EcIA should include:
- completion of any required ecological surveys
- an impact assessment based on the findings of the surveys
- detailed measures needed in order avoid, reduce or compensate for identified impacts
- proposals to increase the biodiversity value on completion of the development
More information can be found using the Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment.
Ecological survey calendar
If further ecological surveys are needed for the EcIA report, then these must be carried out at the appropriate time of year and by a suitably qualified person as shown in the chart below.
We recommend early planning and identification of constraints so that your planning application does not encounter delays.
Ecological survey calendar