Decision Maker: Executive Board
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Approve the establishment of a Leeds City Council Habitat Bank, involving the sale of Biodiversity Units to developers, in line with the Environment Act 2021.
The Director of City Development and the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment submitted a joint report presenting details to the Board on how the Council could respond to new approaches to protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Leeds which have been brought about by the Environment Act 2021. The report proposed the principle of establishing a Habitat Banking Vehicle (HBV) for the Council, which would enable direct investment in strategic nature recovery.
By way of introduction to the report, the Board received details of the relevant requirements arising from the Environment Act 2021 and how the proposals within the report responded to those requirements.
Responding to an enquiry raised, assurance was provided that in line with Government guidance and the Council’s draft Local Plan Update the delivery of the biodiversity net-gain would be onsite wherever possible. Regarding sites where this was not possible and off-site biodiversity was delivered, it was noted that the Council’s draft Local Plan Update emphasised that this should be within the locality where possible.
Emphasis was placed upon the importance of this issue and Members extended their thanks to officers for the proactive work which had been undertaken in developing such proposals.
In response to a further enquiry regarding the potential involvement of Parish and Town Councils, it was noted that there was the opportunity of working in partnership with other stakeholders so that their land could potentially be included within the HBV process.
(a) That the principle of establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle (a Habitat Banking Vehicle (HBV)) be approved so that the sale of habitat units can be undertaken by the HBV in line with the Environment Act 2021;
(b) That approval be given to delegate the necessary authority to the Director of City Development and the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment regarding the establishment and operation of the HBV, in consultation with the City Solicitor, Section 151 officer and the Executive Members for ‘Sustainable Development & Infrastructure’ and ‘Climate, Energy, Environment and Green Space’;
(c) That it be noted by Executive Board that an annual report will be provided which details the performance of the HBV for the previous financial year and which presents the future plans for the next financial year.
Reason Key: Affects more than 1 ward;
Portfolio Holder: Executive Members for Sustainable Development & Infrastructure and Climate, Energy, Environment and Green Space.
Other reasons / organisations consulted
Executive Members for Sustainable Development & Infrastructure and Climate, Energy, Environment and Green Space.
Contact: Martin Elliot, Data Team Leader 0113 378 7634 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report author: Martin Elliot
Publication date: 09/02/2024
Date of decision: 07/02/2024
Decided at meeting: 07/02/2024 - Executive Board
Effective from: 17/02/2024