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Nature conservation and planning

Guidance on the planning requirements for biodiversity.

Biodiversity and the potential presence of protected species are material considerations in the planning process both in national and local planning policy.

The core strategy contains two policies:

  • CS13 - green Network
  • CS17 - biodiversity which set out our policies on biodiversity

You can view the core strategy on the quick links above.

The following local plan policies may also be relevant to planning applications that affect biodiversity within the city:

  • GE01 - sites of special scientific interest
  • GE02 - sites of importance for nature conservation, local nature reserves and regionally important geological sites
  • GE03 - biodiversity enhancement sites
  • GE06 - protection of green wedges
  • GE09 - green space

Protected species

United Kingdom legislation provides for the protection of certain species of wild plants, birds and animals at all times; some species of bird are protected at certain times of the year only, while certain methods of taking or killing wild animals and birds are prohibited.

It is illegal to disturb protected species or the places in which they live.

Work affecting protected species and standing advice

Nature England provide standing advice for proposals affecting protected species. Also, licences may be needed to carry out work that could affect protected species. Further information and downloadable forms are available from the:

Planning applications

Where a proposed development is likely to affect protected species, the applicant must submit an up-to-date protected species survey and assessment. Protected species surveys and assessments must be submitted up-front with a planning application. Please view our planning application requirements page for further information:

Natural and wildlife sites

Certain sites within the city have been designated as having particular importance for nature conservation.

There is one Site of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI) at the Gipsy Lane Pit. Details of this can be found on the Natural England website.

A number of sites within the city have been designated as local wildlife sites - you can search to see if land is within a local wildlife site using our web mapping system.

A number of the best local wildlife sites are maintained as local nature reserves by our parks service. A link to these areas can be found above.

For further details of national biodiversity designations, follow the link to the MAGIC website provided by DEFRA below.

Supplementary planning guidance on biodiversity

This guidance explains why biodiversity is important to Leicester and to the people who live and work in the city. It describes the role that planning process can play in protecting and enhancing the natural resources and strategic biodiversity network of the city. A copy can be downloaded below.

A survey for protected species may be needed to support a planning application. For further details, go to our planning application requirements page.

Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

The new Leicester Biodiversity Action Plan 2021-2031 sets out how the city council and its partners will focus nature conservation work on wildlife habitats and species that are most in need of help to make sure that local biodiversity thrives.

The new plan is guided by four strategic ambitions for the next ten years:

  • To bring at least 30 per cent of the city’s greenspace under council management for the benefit of wildlife
  • To establish a citywide Nature Recovery Network by creating around 25 per cent more green corridors linking parks and other local greenspace
  • To reduce the prevalence and incidence of non-native invasive species while taking action to conserve and protect priority native species to help with their recovery
  • To reduce the use of pesticides on council land by at least half

For the first time, the Leicester Biodiversity Action Plan includes specific actions to protect species including Peregrines, Swifts, Water vole, Hedgehogs, Black Redstart and Otters.

It will also see more wildflower planting on roadside verges; the restoration and creation of new hedgerows to help create wildlife corridors; more tree planting to increase woodland cover; and a continuation of work to improve the city’s riverside as a great place for wildlife to thrive and for people to visit. There are also plans to create more areas of grassland and wetland, both of which provide rich habitats for a variety of wildlife.

The new plan also sets out the importance of raising local awareness of issues facing wildlife and encouraging more active participation in nature conservation across local communities. For more details of how to get involved in projects go to the Promoting biodiversity page.

Further information