Roof gardens, bird boxes and wildlife ponds are set to become more common in Brighton and Hove if new planning guidelines come into force.
The city council’s Nature Conservation and Development Supplementary Planning document aims to show developers how to prevent damage to the city’s wildlife – as well as enhance what is already there.
“Taking account of biodiversity as part of building work will create a greener and more pleasant environment, improving our quality of life as well as protecting and enhancing wildlife in the city,” said council ecologist Matthew Thomas.
“Most developments in Brighton & Hove have no significant effect on wildlife but a small proportion could damage the city’s natural assets. In most cases such damage could be avoided if the threat is identified early in the development process.”
He added: “Many development proposals have the potential to benefit local diversity. For example, even small housing schemes can incorporate house sparrow nesting boxes, wildlife friendly landscaping or even a green roof.
“Other projects could address the regional rain water shortage through water conservation measures such as rainfall harvesting in wildlife ponds, using rainwater irrigation and drought resistant plants.”
The guidelines provide a clear process for developers to follow from an initial assessment of a potential development site through to aftercare once the structure has been built.
The proposals have been welcomed by local groups, and many took the opportunity to comment on draft proposals. They included the Badger Trust, Bricycles, Environment Agency, Sussex Ornithological Society, Hove Civic Society and Natural England.
Cabinet member for Environment, Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, said: “In this, the International Year of Biodiversity, it is particularly appropriate that Brighton & Hove is continuing to push ahead in ensuring new developments are as environmentally friendly as possible. Simple measures such as ‘green’ roofs, ‘green’ walls and bat and bird boxes, for example, can all help to make a real difference and, by bringing wildlife close to our homes, enrich all our lives.”
Councillor Theobald will decide whether to give the document the go ahead at the council’s Environment Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
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