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Will 2024 be a turning point for environmental change?

by | 08 Feb 24 | Nature & Biodiversity, Opinion | 0 comments

‘Climate change’, a phrase many could argue has become quite prevalent in recent years- with it even becoming the children’s word of the year for 2023, according to the Oxford University Press.

With temperatures last year being the hottest on record, the recent flooding across the UK and lets not forget the continued decline in biodiversity shown in The State of Nature Report last year- perhaps it’s not surprising that climate change has the definitive term for young people.

If anything it shows how aware the next generation is to or is becoming to their environment, and their willingness to engage with meaningful and fundamental change.

With this in mind, landscape architecture and environmental design practice, Land Studio has been looking to the year ahead to some of the changes in legislation penned to roll out in 2024, which they hope will have a positive impact on the environment.

They have three key questions prompted by the aforementioned legislations;

 

Will the mandatory requirements for biodiversity net gain (BNG) come into place this year?

Approved under the 2021 Environment Act, the BNG legislation mandates that developers must leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was prior to development.

It is due to come into effect for small developments 12 February, following an initial delay late last year.

Director of ecology at Land Studio, Vale Gateley says: “Almost half of the UK’s economy is linked to nature and, as one of the most biodiverse depleted countries in the world, restoring our natural environments is crucial to building our future green economy.”

With a change of party expected in 2024, what will happen to the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan?

The Environment Plan sets out what the UK will do to improve the environment within a generation.
In January last year, Natural England published a Green Infrastructure Framework to support local planning authorities and developers in designing and creating ‘quality, nature-rich, climate resilient urban green spaces.’

With the idea everyone should be able to access green space in their local area and reap the wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature.

Will 2024 be the year Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act comes into force in England?

In June 2008 the Pitt review made recommendations in relation to SuDS and these were incorporated into Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

Schedule 3 was never implemented and instead the English government opted to increase the use of SuDS through planning policy in April 2015- in 2019 the Welsh government decided to enact Schedule 3.

Lisa Sawyer, Land Studio’s director of civil engineering and drainage engineer says: “Due to the short comings identified in the English planning approach and the successful implementation in Wales (albeit with a few teething problems), a review published in January 2023 recommended that the English Government must implement Schedule 3.”

With these three questions, Land Studio asks one final question; Will 2024 be the year this happens?

“At Land Studio, we’ve successfully gained SAB approval on a number of schemes across North Wales including a residential development in Llannefydd, Conwy, where we specified a sustainable drainage strategy to serve a proposed new-build dwelling on a unique mountainside site.
“We’re currently working on the SAB process alongside landscape design for a new school in Bontnewydd, Gwynedd, as well as an industrial development in Wrexham.”

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