The new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published yesterday. It is not immediately clear who this will affect bat conservation as there is essentially no guidance given (one of the reasons is it now so short). One of the helpful pieces of guidance, PPS9, is now obsolete. It seems that decisions about the maintenance of local biodiversity has been devolved down to the local planning authority who will have to make it up as they go along. This is alarming as many LPAs do not have in-house expertise on biodivesity issues. None of this affects any exisitng legislation protecting bat roosts, but there has always been a grey area about development and mitigation around very small and infrequently used roosts which leaves planners, consultants and the statutory nature conservation organisations somewhat in limbo.
The IEEM have published a response to the DRAFT NPPF here.