The Government specifies the duties of Councils in regard to Biodiversity.

In particular, legislation created in 2021 has come into force from Feb 2024. Councils are now required to create a biodiversity net gain both through managing the land they own and through the planning process for new or refurbished buildings and developments. Some aspects are laid out on this web page

It includes :-

Manage land to improve biodiversity

Consider how the land you manage could improve biodiversity. This includes green and blue spaces like:

parks and sports fields
amenity spaces and communal gardens
roadside and railway verges
field margins and hedgerows
rights of way and access routes
woodlands and nature reserves
canals and rivers
water-dependent habitats
estuaries and coastal habitats

Small changes to how you manage these areas could create habitats for wildlife and ‘nature corridors’ that connect existing habitats. This allows species to move between habitats, maintain or increase populations and be more resilient to climate change.

There are other things you can do to improve habitats, including:

using native and sustainably sourced trees when planting
creating dedicated spaces for wildlife
leaving dead wood safely in place in woodlands to provide additional habitat
maintaining planted trees to give them the best chance of survival
reducing the use of herbicides, pesticides, peat and water
implementing measures to prevent the spread of invasive species and plant disease

These actions can save money while delivering benefits to biodiversity.

If you own or manage large areas of land, consider promoting and encouraging nature-based solutions, restoration of natural processes and landscape recovery.

Natural England has published the Green Infrastructure Framework – Principles and Standards for England. This includes planning, design and process guides.
Make space for wildlife

You could create dedicated spaces to attract wildlife and enhance biodiversity. This is possible even if your public authority owns a single office building. It is important that these measures are appropriate to the location.

You could:

build and install nest boxes for birds, bats and other animals
add green walls or roofs to existing or new buildings
plant native trees and shrubs
plant wildflowers for pollinators

You can do more if you own or manage specific types of land. For example, if you own or manage:

school grounds – create gardens, ponds, meadows or woodlands to improve biodiversity and aid education
farmland – be aware of soil health, water use and waste management and encourage farmers to apply for agri-environment schemes and use pesticides appropriately.

Check the list of priority habitats and species in the UK.
Enhance protected sites

Sites that public authorities own or manage can be protected by other legislation. For example:

sites of special scientific interest
special areas of conservation or special protection areas
national nature reserves
local nature reserves and local sites
Ramsar sites (wetlands of international importance)

You should already be helping to conserve and enhance biodiversity on this land. For example, public bodies already have a duty to take all reasonable steps to conserve and enhance sites of special scientific interest.

The Environmental Improvement Plan set the expectation that all public authorities should ensure they have management plans in place by the end of 2023 to support their sites to reach favourable status.

Authorities should produce those plans and work actively with Natural England and others to identify and implement the actions needed to improve site condition.

Educate, advise and raise awareness

You can help the public understand biodiversity and why it’s important to conserve and enhance it. This can encourage land managers, businesses and the general public to take action to benefit biodiversity too.

For your policies, objectives and actions, you could:

include the public in projects to improve biodiversity
feature biodiversity in public or internal communications
use libraries and museums to raise awareness of biodiversity
put information boards in green spaces or offer guided walks
include biodiversity considerations in advice for internal and external clients and service users
educate your staff on your biodiversity actions and why they’re important
raise public awareness of how their gardens can support biodiversity, for example by avoiding artificial grass

Prepare for biodiversity net gain

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is an approach to development or land management that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand. If your public authority does not have a biodiversity net gain policy in the local plan, you could consider preparing one.

Future development projects (apart from exempt developments) will need to achieve a 10% biodiversity net gain. This is expected to be required from:

November 2023 for Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA) projects not falling under the small sites definition [footnote 1]
April 2024 for TCPA small sites
the end of 2025 for Planning Act 2008 (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects)

Local planning authorities will need to report what is done for biodiversity net gain on and off development sites.

Local planning authorities should consider areas that are appropriate for biodiversity net gain. Consider how existing planning advice and strategies can protect and enhance biodiversity.

The developer is responsible for selecting the competent person for completing the small sites metric (SSM). The competent person does not need to be an ecologist for the SSM. The local planning authority does not need to verify the competent person.

Find out about biodiversity net gain and how it affects you.