Buckinghamshire is a long thin county located in the southeast, it consists of several areas within it, including the Aylesbury Vale located to the north of the county, Chiltern in the eastern area and South Bucks, in the south, Wycombe in the western side and finally Milton Keynes, north east.
It’s considered to be one of the home counties, located to the west of London and because of this and the transport routes it provides, with easy access to the Capital and good road links it means that it is a desirable place to live and work.
As expected, the counties population is concentrated to the south of the county, closer to London (Bucks CC, 2024), but around Aylesbury there has also been a jump recently.
Because of the increases in population, links to the capital, road and rail networks and easy travel systems development in the county has been high. With this there has been some conflict with the ecology of Bucks.
Bucks has a varied and rich natural environment with diverse habitats including chalk grassland, beech woodlands, wood-pasture and chalk rivers, one of the rarest habitats in the whole country. This is reflexed by the 460 local wildlife sites, 100 legally protected species records and nearly 200 species of conservation concern (Bucks CC 2, 2024).
Due to the local authority having a duty to converse this varied ecology, the local plans now include a prevision for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), and although thius will be a national mandatory requirement from 12th February 2024 (larger sites and April 2nd 2024 for small scale sites) it is now policy in the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes areas (Bucks CC 3, 2024).
It is therefore more important than ever to engage with an ecologist early on in the planning process. BNG will be an important consideration going forward and knowing how this will affect your site may become a limiting factor e.g. offsetting BNG can be costly. Getting a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) along with the condition assessments of the on site habitats and any offsite land that maybe used as offsetting early on will make the process much faster and streamlined in the future and planning process.
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