Landscape and Biodiversity

Nature Recovery and the Enhanced Biodiversity Duty

The Environment Act 2021 introduced a strengthened ‘biodiversity duty’ which applies to all public authorities in England. Local authorities must consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.  Complying with the biodiversity duty - GOV.UK 

They must

  1. Consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity by 1 January 2024.
  2. Agree policies and specific objectives based on their consideration as soon as possible after 1 Jan 2024.
  3.  Act to deliver the policies and achieve these objectives and report on them.

Biodiversity duty reporting

Arun District Council will need to report on:

  • actions taken to conserve and enhance biodiversity
  • achievements resulting from our actions
  • actions we plan to take in the next reporting period

Planning authorities must produce their first report within three years, by 1 January 2026.

Planning authorities must report within three years, by 1 January 2026 and then within five years of the previous reporting period.

The table below sets out how Arun District Council meets the first requirement to consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity by 1 January 2024.

Arun District Council is a supporting authority with the West Sussex Local Nature Recovery Strategy. The West Sussex Local Nature Recovery Strategy is under development and is expected to be published in the summer of 2025. In the interim Arun District Council will develop policies and objectives to meet the enhanced biodiversity duty.

This work will link with the mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain requirements for developments which come into force in January 2024.

Summary of current work/action that contributes to the biodiversity duty

Summary of current work/action that contributes to the biodiversity duty

Work area

Relevant policies/strategies already in place


Future plans/comments

Planning Policy

Local Plan 2011 -2031

  • Strategic Policies

  • ENV SP1 natural environment

  • ENV DM1 Designated Sites of biodiversity or geological importance

  • ENV DM2 Pagham Harbour

  • ENV DM3 Biodiversity Opportunity Areas

  • ENV DM4 Protection of trees

  • ENV DM5 Development and biodiversity

  • W SP1 Water

Mandatory approach to Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), will need to be integrated in review of Local Plan after regulations and guidance are provided. A monitoring framework is yet to be provided.

Development Management

Determination of planning applications in accordance with current wildlife legislation and policy.

Covered by local plan policies above.

Local Plan review may strengthen these policies.

10% BNG Local Plan policy

Local Plan and Mandatory 10% Metric for major developments as set out in the Draft biodiversity net gain planning practice guidance PPG

May be adopted as part of a Supplementary Planning Guidance document.

Review and adopt into updated local plan.

Corporate Plan

Council Vision 2022 – 2026

The role of the district council is to make Arun a better place to live, work and visit as well as delivering public services. The Vision sets out how we are going to do this.

It is divided into four key themes, each of which has a number of aims and statements about how they will be achieved. The areas the council will concentrate on are:

  • Improving the wellbeing of Arun

  • Delivering the right homes in the right places

  • Supporting our environment to support us

  • Fulfilling Arun’s economic potential

Assumption that the proposed Defra management plan guidance (for 2025-2030 plans) will align with and integrate the reporting requirements for the biodiversity duty.

Future corporate plan will need to demonstrate how it supports the environmental improvement plan.

Partnership working


We are an active member of the Sussex Nature Partnership. This is a joint venture between all the councils in East and West Sussex with an aim to provide a coordinated source of information, knowledge-sharing and expertise around nature recovery, nature based solutions and biodiversity net gain.

Contribute to development and delivery of West Sussex LNRS.

Arun Biodiversity Net Gain study 2022 and Biodiversity Action Plan

The scope of the study is focused on the following 4 stages:

  • Stage 1 – Species related collation, analysis and mapping

  • Stage 2 – Habitat related mapping and review

  • Stage 3 – Delivery and Implementation i.e. what can the Council do to deliver BNG through the planning system

  • Stage 4 – Recommendations for Next Steps following this study.

The focus of Stages 1 and 2 was to compile an up-to-date evidence base of species and habitats within the district supported by an interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping. To help guide the ‘Direction of Travel’ these stages also included a high-level discussion of the following:

  • the existing natural assets related to species and habitats of the district;

  • the protected and notable species within the district, along with their spatial spread and extent;

  • the habitat types focussing on their spatial spread across the district;

  • the existing Biodiversity Opportunity Area (BOA) and whether their boundaries remain appropriate; and

  • early identification of opportunities for enhancement and creation of species corridors.

Stages 3 and 4 developed and considered in more detail actions and opportunities for the alterations or additions to existing BOA boundaries as well as approaches that can be made towards the refinements of policies to deliver BNG on or off site.

Note results of stage 1 and 2 in future policy and plan development.

For stage 3 Produce new BNG policy and include BNG requirements in planning application determination.

Develop delivery program for stage 4.

Sets out the BNG strategy through an Arun Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) see also Climate Action Plan below.

Arun Green Infrastructure Study 2012

  • Arun’s Green Infrastructure Study presents a Green Infrastructure Framework which will be used as a basis for preparing policies within the Local Plan and will enable:

  • The areas of 'highest' environmental value to be identified (environmental value is to be judged by the multiple functions and benefits provided that contributes to the diversity and distinctiveness of the area)

  • The areas where there is potential to create high value environments that provide multiple functions and benefits in the future to be identified

  • Local communities and the Local Authority to protect, enhance and create new opportunities for green infrastructure in the district

Informs future nature recovery work.

Bognor Regis GI Framework Study 2020

Informs assessment of planning applications in the Bognor Regis area.

BNG and nature recovery will apply to applications in Bognor Regis.

Arun Landscape Study 2017

This study focuses on the strategic sites considered for inclusion in the local plan and due to the size of the report was produced in 5 separate parts, which can be viewed using the adjacent links.

Informs future nature recovery work.

Tree planting strategy

Aim to plant roughly 30,000 whips and 500 standard saplings on council owned land in the next 10 years. These trees will not only provide offsetting opportunities but will also help protect, improve and maintain biodiversity within the district and provide vital habitat for a number of species. 

Contributes to nature recovery (important to apply the right tree right place principal)

Marine conservation

In March 2021 the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw was passed which banned trawling from occurring on the nearshore seabed off the cost of Sussex. The kelp restoration project was then created in collaboration with local and national organisations. We are taking a keen interest in this project and are actively involved with supporting this.

Marine Net Gain expected to become mandatory in the future.

Climate Action Plan

This document shows all the climate-related projects we are either currently doing, planning to do, or could do in the future. These projects will help reduce our emissions and promote biodiversity.

Produce a Biodiversity/nature recovery Action Plan (BAP) for ADC.

Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS)

Supporting authority role in relation to West Sussex LNRS

Arun District Council is supporting the creation of these strategies through provision of evidence and advice.

Contribute to development and delivery of West Sussex LNRS.

Parks management grassland flora


To help biodiversity thrive on our land wildflower meadows and areas of long grass have been established throughout the district. These areas provide essential sources of food and a safe habitat for a large number of birds, insects and small mammals. We will continue to actively add wildflower meadows throughout areas of green space, with an aim to increase the amount of area covered by 10% each year.

Review and promote management of parks to provide habitats for nature.

Seek opportunities to create specific habitats for key species.

Draft biodiversity net gain planning practice guidance

How is the biodiversity gain objective of 10% gain calculated? 

The biodiversity gain objective of at least a 10% gain is measured against the pre-development biodiversity value of the onsite habitat for the development.  The objective is met if this value is exceeded by at least 10% through a combination of:

  • onsite biodiversity gains measured as part of the post-development biodiversity value of the onsite habitat for the development
  • registered offsite biodiversity gains which have been allocated to the development; and
  • the purchase of biodiversity credits for the development

The Biodiversity Gain Hierarchy (which planning authorities must take account of when determining the Biodiversity Gain Plan) emphasises that onsite biodiversity gains should be considered first followed by registered offsite biodiversity gains and – as a last resort – biodiversity credits. 

The statutory biodiversity metric is used to calculate the pre-development and post-development biodiversity value of the development’s onsite habitat, as well as the value for offsite biodiversity gains and biodiversity credits. It uses habitat information to generate “biodiversity units”, a proxy measure for biodiversity value. The statutory biodiversity metric data value inputs include habitat type, size, distinctiveness, condition, and its location in the local area.

The statutory biodiversity metric calculation tools must be submitted as part of the Biodiversity Gain Plan to demonstrate the statutory biodiversity metric formula has been accurately applied.

The statutory biodiversity metric and information on how it is used can be found in guidance published by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 74-004-2023

Biodiversity Net Gain Study

The requirement for biodiversity net gain was introduced through Section 17 of the Environment Act 2021. This requires a net gain in biodiversity to be achieved, initially onsite or if not viable or achievable fully on site then through a local levy towards a local strategically important offsite scheme before any buying or selling of biodiversity credits at a national level. The 10% included in Schedule 17 of the Environment Act should be considered the minimum during the transition period until Oct 2023. It is expected the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric will be used to establish the baseline for a site and to accompany any biodiversity net gain plan submitted.

The Arun Biodiversity Net Gain Study November 2022 was approved by the Planning Policy Committee on 24 November 2022. It formed part of the evidence base at a strategic level, to help implementation of the BNG 10% metric and directs actions towards appropriate locations where biodiversity net gains will achieve the optimum benefit for nature recovery or expansion. This is presented in parts 1 and 2 of the reports below. 

In addition, the study provides advice on the development of planning policy in any Local Plan update (once resumed), as well as to inform future work to take forward an Arun localised offset levy. This is contained in parts 3 and 4 of the Biodiversity Net Gain Study with Appendices below.

Arun biodiversity net gain study[pdf] 4MB

Appendix 1 - List of shapefiles used and created[pdf] 114KB

Appendix 2 - Worked examples [pdf] 286KB

A quick reference to the key proposals mapped in the study include: Strategic Areas of High Value (i.e. Core Areas focussed on the Biodiversity Opportunity Areas) ( Figure 6.1 Strategic Areas.pdf[pdf] 231KB ); Potential Barbastelle and Bechstein’s Bat Corridor ( Figure 5.1 Potential Bat Corridor.pdf[pdf] 165KB ); Existing BOAS and Potential Wildlife Corridors ( Figure 6.2 Existing BOAs and potential wildlife corridors.pdf[pdf] 197KB ).

Green Infrastructure Maps

The Green Infrastructure Study identifies a network of Green Infrastructure (GI) assets which must be protected, enhanced and, where possible, better connected, through future development. The GI network map[pdf] 2MB  identifies the existing network of GI assets which must be taken into consideration alongside chapter 17 of the local plan -  natural environment [pdf] 560KB  Policy SP21 in the Draft Local Plan. 

NOTE: The original parish level maps shown below detailing the GI network were based on the situation in 2012 and are being updated to reflect the currently adopted Arun local Plan 2018.  The parish level maps below, generally, are therefore now out of date.  Any updates produced are clearly marked within the following list. 

Where there are no updated parish level maps below then it will be necessary to reference the maps contained in the latest neighbourhood development plan, which can be found on Neighbourhood Planning | Arun District Council.

Green Infrastructure Network Maps by Parish November 2012

The Green Infrastructure Study (June 2012)

The National Planning Policy Framework defines Green Infrastructure as:

'A network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities'.

Through stakeholder engagement and fieldwork, Land Use Consultants have prepared a study, on behalf of Arun District Council, which aims to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the District's existing green infrastructure network, and opportunities to improve and strengthen the network.  By doing so, the study aims to provide the evidence to help shape the future growth in the District and develop a joined up approach to delivering ecological services, recreational benefits, climate change mitigation, adaptation measures and the retention and enhancement of landscape character and distinctiveness across the District.

Arun's Green Infrastructure Study [pdf] 4MB  presents a Green Infrastructure Framework which will be used as a basis for preparing policies within the Local Plan and will enable:

  • The areas of 'highest' environmental value to be identified (environmental value is to be judged by the multiple functions and benefits provided that contributes to the diversity and distinctiveness of the area).
  • The areas where there is potential to create high value environments that provide multiple functions and benefits in the future to be identified.
  • Local communities and the Local Authority to protect, enhance and create new opportunities for Green Infrastructure in the District.

List of figures at November 2012

Bognor Regis GI Framework Study

The Bognor Regis GI Framework Study "A Landscape and Green Infrastructure Framework Connecting Bognor Regis to the South Downs National Park (January 2020)" [pdf] 52MB was considered by the Planning Policy Sub-Committee on 25 February 2020 which endorsed the report both for the purposes of assisting the assessment of any planning applications currently under consideration.

Arun Landscape Study 2017

This study focuses on the strategic sites considered for inclusion in the local plan and due to the size of the report was produced in 5 separate parts, which can be viewed using the links below.

Arun_Landscape_Capacity-a [pdf] 13MB
Arun_Landscape_Capacity-b [pdf] 11MB
Arun_Landscape_Capacity-c [pdf] 11MB
Arun_Landscape_Capacity-d [pdf] 14MB
Arun_Landscape_Capacity-e [pdf] 2MB

Landscape & Visual Amenity Aspects of Development Choices in Arun District 2006

In March 2006 the Council employed Hankinson Duckett Associates to carry out a Landscape Sensitivity Study covering the part of the District between the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the coastline but excluding the defined built up areas.

The purpose of the study was to prepare an independent assessment of landscape sensitivity in order to provide a further tool to assist strategic decision making and the broad location of future major new greenfield developments in the district.

A second aim was to consider carefully the existing boundaries of the Strategic and Local Gaps and to make recommendations as to whether they can be altered compromising either visual or perceived coalescence between the relevant settlements.

This report does not constitute Arun District Council policy, but will form part of the evidence base used in preparing the emerging Local Development Framework.

It should be noted that there is a requirement by the Environment Agency that the Council undertake a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) of the District. The Environment Agency's Indicative Flood Risk Maps were used as part of the assessment of the degrees of sensitivity of the local character landscape areas, the SFRA could require a reappraisal of sensitivity in those area where flood risk information changes. The studies are available below:

Technical Appendices
Technical Figures Technical Appendices
Figure 1 [pdf] 5MB Appendices Cover & Contents [pdf] 60KB
Figure 2 [pdf] 6MB Appendix A [pdf] 65KB
Figure 3 [pdf] 6MB Appendix B [pdf] 124KB
Figure 4 [pdf] 2MB Appendix C [pdf] 188KB
Figure 5 [pdf] 4MB Appendix D Key [pdf] 285KB
Figure 6 [pdf] 3MB Appendix D Zone 1 [pdf] 2MB
Figure 7 [pdf] 2MB Appendix D Zone 2 [pdf] 3MB
Figure 8 [pdf] 6MB Appendix D Zone 3 [pdf] 3MB
Figure 9 [pdf] 13MB Appendix D Zone 4 [pdf] 3MB
Figure 10 [pdf] 16MB Appendix E [pdf] 786KB
Figure 11 [pdf] 16MB Appendix F [pdf] 2MB
Figure 12 [pdf] 17MB Appendix G [pdf] 905KB
Key to Figures 4-7 [pdf] 15KB Appendix H [pdf] 2MB
  Appendix I [pdf] 207KB
  Appendix J [pdf] 532KB
  Appendix K [pdf] 299KB
  Appendix L [pdf] 606KB
  Appendix M [pdf] 253KB
  Appendix N [pdf] 368KB

The Soils and Agricultural Land Assessment 2013 can be found on our Employment (planning policy) page.