The Biodiversity Planning Toolkit is a new online resource launched in 2011 and developed by the Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE). The aim of the toolkit is to enable users to incorporate biodiversity features within their development design. The online resource includes tools such as an interactive landscape tool, which displays biodiversity and geodiversity features that can be incorporated within suitable developments.
Local Planning Authorities are increasing looking for ecological enhancements to be incorporated within development design. It can be difficult to incorporate a range of ecological enhancements within any new development, and enhancements usually comprise the installation of bat and bird boxes. This Toolkit is designed to help developers to incorporate a range of ecological features suitable for their specific development scheme.
The interactive bat protocol tool provides general advice regarding bat survey effort to inform planning and the need for a European Protected Species licence. This tool aims to help developers to understand the decision making process for planning applications where bats are involved, and also allow developers to programme in any associated delays into their timescales. This is particularly useful, as bat emergence/activity/swarming surveys can only be undertaken when bats are active between May and August, which can significantly delay projects and planning applications.
There is also a survey/mitigation calendar resource which details suitable timings to undertake ecology survey and implement mitigation. This is presented as a calendar for easy use and will aid developers to ensure that work programmes consider seasonal constraints associated with some ecological survey.
The online resource will also include information about legislation, key habitats and species, and a register detailing where to find expert advice. The toolkit will eventually create a series of animated development scenarios, for example residential development, wind farm development and green infrastructure, which will include examples of suitable biodiversity features and enhancements