Stuart Hutchinson from Enzygo, says planning authorities will always look favourably on an application if the green infrastructure (GI) is a key consideration from the beginning of the design process. Building with Nature (BwN) is an excellent way to demonstrate this commitment. As the U.K.’s first benchmark in Green Infrastructure, if awarded, it can significantly ease the planning compliance process and provide additional design consultancy as part of the service. What’s more, it is evidenced by the existing surveys and technical assessments currently required for planning applications. BwN is an integral part of the government’s 25 year plan and Environment Act 2021, and is recognised by a growing number of local authorities and the National Design Guide.
As an assessor I work closely with the design team to provide guidance and gather the required evidence to achieve the BwN standards. At Enzygo Ltd, anEnvironmental Consultancy, we have two BwN assessors, myself, a landscape architect based at our Sheffield office and Derek Allan, an ecologist, based at our Bristol office. Working together to provide multiple angles and knowledge on projects, we produce a robust and high-quality service undertaking projects across the whole country. We aim to expand by introducing a third assessor to our office in Manchester. Additionally, we have expertise on hand from multiple disciplines including air quality, hydrology, drainage and flooding, ecology, arboriculture, geo-environmental, noise, permitting and planning, all of which can inform the consultation and report. We provide a bespoke service, depending on the site context and client needs, tailoring our services to meet any requirements. Recently, we have demonstrated our experience of Natural Capital Assessment services, all of which are similar in scope to the Building with Nature assessment.
The Building with Nature standards cover aspects such as the role of GI, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), ecosystem services, humans’ interaction with nature and water, wellbeing, drainage and flooding. Using the standards, I engage with clients and improve the physical development.
Developers who want to create great schemes find that getting Accredited by Building with Nature can reduce planning uncertainty, help to engage local communities, and attract consumers who value the benefits of living with nature. Local authorities recognise that by achieving the award, an application will already have surpassed many of their requirements.
The aim is, with our services, to put nature at the heart of a development, achieving the correct standards with an evidence-based approach resulting in a successful application. It guarantees a development will achieve above the minimum 10% BNG requirement and has a Natural Capital approach embedded at its core. Through supporting and championing best-practice in ecosystem services and green infrastructure, BwN helps great schemes get built, raises the bar for industry, and mainstreams green infrastructure in placemaking.
See our Ask The Expert article – https://www.insidermedia.com/experts/yorkshire/ask-the-expert-ease-your-way-through-planning-compliance-with-green-infrastructure