Pioneering biodiversity management standard is published

BSI, the business standards company recently launched BS 42020, Biodiversity – Code of practice for planning and development. The standard will help organizations fulfil their obligation to support local biodiversity targets. It deals with projects and products that include planning and development of new buildings, also extending to changes in land use – and how these activities impact upon biodiversity.

Strategies to protect wild flora and fauna are in place for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, with the general objective to halt overall loss of biodiversity by 2020 in line with the European Biodiversity Strategy for 2020 and the UN Aichi targets. In England, the streamlined National Planning Policy Framework supersedes much of the previous guidance around biodiversity, so BS 42020 will play a vital role in helping protect and enhance UK biodiversity.

Its coherent methodology for biodiversity management will provide:

  • Guidance on how to produce clear and concise ecological information to accompany planning applications
  • Recommendations on professional ethics, conduct, competence and judgement to give confidence that proposals for biodiversity conservation, and consequent decisions/actions taken, are sound and appropriate
  • Direction on effective decision-making in biodiversity management
  • A framework to demonstrate how biodiversity has been managed during the development process to minimize impact

By adopting BS 42020, authorities, developers, planners and local [government] ecologists will have the necessary information and methodology to make sound decisions on biodiversity issues.

The standard was developed by a committee with representatives from organizations such as the Association of Local Government Ecologists, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, the Landscape Institute, Defra, the Environment Agency, the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Natural England, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Bat Conservation Trust, and the Association of Wildlife Trusts, as well as experts from the construction industry, ecologists, ethicists and academics.  

David Fatscher Head of Market Development for Sustainability at BSI says, “When we plan and construct new buildings we have a responsibility towards the biodiversity in that location. Having a standard like BS 42020 that unifies the reporting procedure for everyone involved in this area, in a clear and consistent manner, means that the government directives for biodiversity can be met. It also demonstrates a real commitment to managing biodiversity and minimizing the impact of development.”


Notes to editors

  • A Smart Guide (PDF) has been produced for BS 42020 
  • BSI is currently developing a ‘BS guide to biodiversity issues’ (due 2014) to help organizations that operate an environmental or sustainability management system in identifying the issues that apply to them and that they can effectively manage
  • BS 42020 will replace PAS 2010 Planning to halt the loss of biodiversity