All Change For Urban Green Space

How may the UK’s urban green space be affected by the Environment Bill? Matthew Jones a senior associate with Forbes Solicitors explains

Following the UK’s official departure from the European Union on 1st January 2021, the Environment Bill is set to be one of the most significant pieces of legislation introduced by the Government. The Bill will have a significant impact on incentivising developers to ensure their developments are in biodiverse, ‘green’ areas of land and plan how the green space is maintained in the long term. How might that impact those living in urban green spaces?

The proposed changes present both challenges and opportunities to developers when considering where to purchase land and how it should be managed. In most cases, new developments will now be required to produce a 10 per cent increase in the ‘biodiversity value’ of the land. It is important to note that this increase must be maintained for a minimum of 30 years. Furthermore, when developers submit their planning application to the local authority, it must be accompanied by a biodiversity net gain plan. There may need to be new arrangements for management of the green spaces by arranging agreements with a ‘responsible body’ (such as public bodies, local councils or charities) to oversee the future conservation and bind future landowners.

On the one hand, obtaining planning permission will be a longer process as developers will now have to consider how a plot of land can be made more biodiverse before purchasing it. On the flip side, recent data published by the Office for National Statistic shows that house prices rise by an average of £2,500 where they are located in urban green spaces and the pandemic has highlighted a greater desire for people to live in greener and more diverse areas.

Additionally, developers who display a willingness to incorporate more green spaces into their land will likely to be prioritised by initiatives to develop green housing. It may also be easier obtaining finance from lenders seeking to invest in biodiverse areas and it is also anticipated that the new emphasis on biodiversity will soon transition to infrastructure projects on a national scale.

Developers who are quick to embrace the new planning requirements place themselves in a good position to capitalise and to potentially be in a more competitive position to win tenders for land. Many well informed developers are already well aware of the importance of the greener aspects of a build, and this new act will present a new way of considering some of the long term sustainability issues within a development project.

If you are involved or interested in entering the residential property development market, please feel free to get in touch with Matthew Jones who is a Senior Associate within the Commercial Property Department at Forbes Solicitors.

Matthew can be contacted by telephone: 0333 207 1147, or alternatively by email:



Tedd Walmsley

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