Biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality, planning committee training, and more...

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29 November 2023

Planning Advisory Service

26 days until Christmas. It's a good job that PAS is calm, collected and ready for whatever comes our way. I can't say the same for the Rose household!

A lot is going on, and we are doing our best to keep you up to date with all of the action at a national level. This newsletter is evidence of that, so read it carefully; we store it on our website, where you can also find other helpful planning information.

We had our Supplementary Plan events last week, following on from our Local Plan series in September. Thanks to those who attended and asked such brilliant questions. The Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) slides from the session are published on our website

As for the Planning Skills Delivery Fund, we are told you will hear about it soon and definitely before Christmas.

Anna Rose
Head of PAS

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is coming!

We are expecting key regulations and guidance on mandatory BNG to be published by Government today and are hosting two BNG events in December (i) a BNG policy update and (ii) a session on the Statutory Biodiversity Metric. We have also published a BNG essentials slide-pack and recording that officers can use. We will be updating our webpages over coming weeks and are also hosting additional sessions for our BNG practitioner network - open to all local planning authority (LPA) officers. Fill out this form to join.

Nutrient neutrality - Updated legal advice for decision makers

We have commissioned a small update to our legal advice for decision-makers in the context of nutrient neutrality. The advice has been reviewed in light of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) along with some appeal decisions. It is designed to help you make robust and lawful decisions. 

We continue to work with the catchments on how to proceed more generally, and with a smaller number of catchments on what the Autumn Statement means for the delivery of local mitigation schemes. 

Planning committee training

Last year we had a very high demand for PAS to help councils with Planning Committee training post-May elections and unfortunately, we could not help all the councils who wanted support.  We are already arranging training with councils so if you would like PAS to organise a session with your Planning Committee members please contact us as soon as possible by emailing

Infrastructure Funding Statements - 31 December deadline

A reminder that councils have a statutory requirement to publish their Infrastructure Funding Statement for the financial year 2022/23 by 31 December. We have updated our guidance to help you with this and if you need any advice do get in touch at

Pathways to Planning – Supplier sought to help deliver programme

The LGA is seeking suppliers to help design and deliver a learning and development programme as part of the Pathways to Planning graduate scheme. The programme with serve as an introduction to Planning as a career while deepening graduates understanding of the local government context and current issues affecting the sector. For more information about this opportunity, please visit the Delta eSourcing portal

Pathways to Planning - Applications for councils to secure a graduate under now open!

Applications are now open for Pathways to Planning, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) new graduate programme to fast-track new talent into council planning teams. There is no fee to take part and each graduate place comes with a £5,000 bursary to support their RTPI accreditation. There are 120 graduate posts available to councils so don't miss out on securing one.

Design Codes - Launching of the new PAS Practitioners Network

As part of our on-going support for local authorities producing and using design codes we are launching an online network for local authority practitioners. The aim of the group will be to:

  • develop local capacity
  • bring together local authority officers working on similar issues and challenges
  • share best practice. 

If you would be interested in joining you can register your interest via our website, and there is no fee to join.

Nationally Strategic Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) – Webinar

As part of a new NSIPs Centre of Excellence, Suffolk County Council are running an introductory webinar to NSIPs on 18 December. This for local authority officers who are new to (or have limited experience of) the NSIP process. Emyr Thomas from Sharpe Pritchard LLP will explain the NSIP process and Suffolk County Council will share their experience and provide top tips. To book a place please contact with ‘Introduction to NSIPs’ in the subject.

Planning for children’s and older persons homes

PAS are helping to gather evidence from local planning authorities and children’s social care teams, to gain a greater understanding of planning considerations that may be affecting the delivery of children’s homes. Including how planning policy interacts with the need for more children’s homes and understanding the material considerations in relation to children’s home applications. We are holding two virtual workshops in January.

We are also looking for local authority planners to join a workshop to discuss the planning barriers to delivering older persons housing, especially anyone who has found it a particularly difficult housing need to plan for. 

Both the children's homes and older persons workshops will be held in early January. If you would be interested in taking part please email 

Historic England - Climate change and building adaptation advice note

Consultation on Historic England’s Climate Change and Building Adaptation Advice Note is open until 24 December. This new advice states it is possible to conserve heritage and address climate change. It supports consistent decision making on how historic buildings can adapt to tackle climate change and improve their energy efficiency.

Homes England: Capacity Analysis Tool and New Homes Fact Sheets

Homes England has launched two new resources to support local government and other organisations involved in homebuilding, placemaking and regeneration.

The Capacity Analysis Tool is a downloadable tool that has been created to identify the skills and capacity within a user's organisation in relation to housing delivery and regeneration, and signpost actions to help improve this capacity.  

The New Homes Fact Sheets have been designed to support local government in conversations with local communities and consists of a series of ten fact sheets with key information and figures on different areas of home building and regeneration. 

The Future Homes Hub - Biodiversity unit finder

The Future Homes Hub, who represent the majority of homebuilders, have asked PAS to let you know about their free and independent online finder for off-site biodiversity units that can be searched by LPA or National Character Area: the Biodiversity Unit Finder

Natural England – Protected species standing advice

Natural England is carrying out a light touch review of their Protected Species Standing Advice. You can send any feedback on use of the advice or suggestions for improvement to Elizabeth Knowles by 22 December 2023. Recent minor updates to the standing advice have been published on GOV.UK to reflect new requirements brought in by the Environment Act 2021. 

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