Biodiversity assessments

Discharge of ecological planning conditions

After you’ve gained planning consent for your project, you may need to discharge ecologically relevant planning conditions.

Planning conditions generally relate to a specific stage of works, such as pre-demolition, pre-construction, pre-occupation or compliance.

This is particularly important if your site requires any kind of licence from Natural England. All relevant ecological conditions must be discharged before submitting licence applications or site registrations.

What do discharging conditions involve?

Actions potentially required to discharge conditions include:

A Construction Ecological Management Plan (CEMP)

  • A CEMP helps to ensure the protection of important ecological receptors during construction. This may include the timing of works, precautionary working methods (including covering trenches or deep excavations overnight) or supervision of high-risk activities by a Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE).

A Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP)

  • A LEMP provides specifications for the creation of habitats or installation of protected species features. They also include long-term management regimes to ensure retained and new ecological receptors continue to offer biodiversity value.

Review of Lighting Plans

It’s common for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to request a review of lighting plans in cases where nocturnal protected species are an ecological receptor for a project – particularly where bat roosts are present and will either be retained or recreated on site.

When should you think about discharging ecologically relevant conditions?

As soon as you’ve received your Decision Notice confirming planning consent has been granted for your project. You won’t need to discharge all conditions before the first stage of works, but it’s good to get an idea of which conditions will require discharging, and when – especially as this could potentially impact licensing timelines.