Biodiversity in Epsom & Ewell

Biodiversity is the word used to describe the complexity and abundance of life on earth in all its forms. The intricate network of ecosystems, habitats and species comprising biodiversity provides the support systems that sustain human existence. Consequently, humanity must 'act locally and think globally' by adopting sustainable ways of living that ensure the protection of biodiversity. 

Biodiversity Action Plan

We have a Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2020-30 to help ensure both the long term protection and enhancement of biodiversity within our borough. This is our second 10 year Biodiversity Action Plan.

The working group which oversees the implementation of the plan produced its first progress report for the 2010-20 plan in December 2011. All progress reports are available on request and below are links to the most recent ones, which explain the progress made over the years.

Biodiversity Action Plan Progress Report 2019

Biodiversity Action Plan Progress Report 2018

Biodiversity Action Plan Progress Report 2017

How does biodiversity benefit our community?

Our Local Biodiversity Action Plan aims to promote the economic and health benefits of biodiversity in Epsom and Ewell.

Our health and the economies, local, national and global, that we work in, depend on healthy ecosystems providing fresh water, fertile soils, clean air, diverse wildlife and places to enjoy. 

The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is a great place to start discovering the practical benefits of maintaining healthy ecosystems. The UK is a world leader in research in to 'Ecosystem Services' and a UK National Ecosystem Assessment has already been carried out.

Biodiversity and Planning in Epsom and Ewell

The conservation and/or enhancement of biodiversity is a key part of our planning decision making process. In January 2012, we adopted a guide called Biodiversity and Planning in Epsom and Ewell that gives guidance on the protection and enhancement of biodiversity through the planning system. Whilst outdated, the background information on protected habitats and species remains relevant. We are working on updating the guidance shortly.

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is an approach to planning and land management that leaves the natural environment in a better state than it was before.

Since 12 February 2024, qualifying developments proposals in England are required to deliver an increase of at least 10% Biodiversity Net Gain compared to the existing biodiversity value (or baseline) of the site under the Environment Act 2021. The idea being that development will result in an improvement to the environment.

Some types of development are exempt.

The Statutory Biodiversity Metric is required to measure the Biodiversity value of the development site as it is existing and the value after the development.

Biodiversity Net Gain at Epsom and Ewell

The mandatory requirement for Biodiversity Net Gain is now effective nationwide for qualifying developments.  At present, there is no current local policy on BNG, we are in the process of preparing a new Local Plan. It is important to note that the requirement for Biodiversity Net Gain doesn’t alter existing requirements and protections for the natural environment such as protecting important habitats and species. These must be achieved alongside providing BNG. Existing Local Plan policies on protecting and conserving the natural environment include Core Strategy CS3 and Development Management policy DM4.

For further information on the progress of our new Local Plan please visit Draft Local Plan 2022-2040.

This process diagram helps to explain BNG in the planning application process

Further information

Further information on Biodiversity Net Gain:

Local Nature Recovery Strategies

Local Nature Recovery Strategies are a new, England-wide system of spatial strategies that aim to halt and reverse declines in biodiversity and deliver wider environmental benefits. The new Strategies are required by law under the Environment Act 2021. Surrey County Council is responsible for preparing the Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Surrey. Epsom and Ewell Borough Council is a supporting authority (as are all other Borough/District Councils within Surrey). Local Nature Recovery Strategies will help to direct several new funding streams including for agri-environment funding and links to Biodiversity Net Gain. For further details, including how to get involved in the future, please visit Surrey County Council’s webpage on Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS)