Pre-submission Biodiversity Checking Service - Pilot for Babergh & Mid Suffolk


Stag Beetle - Lucanus cervus

The SBIS Biodiversity Checking Service (BCS) is an innovative pilot project running in Babergh and Mid Suffolk districts until the end of September 2018. The aim is to streamline the planning process for applicants with low impact developments by avoiding delays, providing certainty about biodiversity requirements and ensuring a lawful decision based on high quality information. This is achieved by checking that the biodiversity surveys and assessments are appropriate and mitigation measures are deliverable pre-submission for an application to the Local Planning Authority. Step by step guidance explains when it is appropriate to use this cost effective Service, what type of information is required, who needs to complete the low impact biodiversity template report*, how to apply, what fees are payable and the possible outcomes. A successful application receives a Certificate to be submitted with the Planning Application documents, thus ensuring a smooth application process. The success of this Service will be reviewed in September 2018.

New housing development

Is the Biodiversity Checking Service Appropriate?

Link to flowchart

Using the Biodiversity Checking Service

Link to pdf User Guide                    

How much will it cost?

A site visit will be made as part of the BCS to verify submitted details for a flat fee of £100.

Checking a low impact EcIA before issuing a Certificate will cost a flat fee of £100.

The total cost for the BCS will be £200.00.

If pre-submission ecological information is insufficient for determination, BCS staff will advise applicant and identify what is needed before any subsequent request for certification is made to BCS.

Where an EcIA is later amended and a Certificate needs to be re-issued, an administration fee of £25 will apply.

How do I pay?

SBIS sends invoice to applicant for payment before BCS outcome is released.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click to free standing FAQ

Where does BCS fit into the planning process?

Click to free standing Appendix 2

How long does the BCS take?

BCS ecologist will visit development site and evaluate low impact EcIA report within a target of 10 working days from submission to BCS.

Key Facts

Area covered

Babergh and Mid Suffolk Districts

Schemes covered

Low impact developments (see definition in FAQ)

Offered by

Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service (SBIS)

Available to

Applicants who wish to get biodiversity survey / assessment requirements and mitigation measures checked pre-submission to the Local Planning Authority

What the applicant receives

A BCS Certificate for submission with application documents to the Local Planning Authority.

Benefits of the BCS

a) Provides certainty about requirements and avoids delays.

b) Speeds up the planning process for applicants with a BCS Certificate.

c)  Underpins a lawful decision by the Local Planning Authority based on high quality information as required under the British Standard for Biodiversity (BS42020 Sec. 8.1)

Building Site

Low impact EcIA report Template

Contact Form

Please detail the name/ref of the scheme. This will be used to identify our correspondence. Your application will be given an SBIS ref once it has been logged.
Please provide a detailed location and Parish/Town name for the scheme.
Please provide a postcode for the scheme
Please give details of the lead contact for this submission
Please provide the full business name that will be used on invoicing etc...
Please provide a contact telephone number of the lead contact for this request.
Please provide a valid contact email address
Use this space to add a message to your submission
Do you accept the standard flat charge outlined on the BCS homepage (total cost £200 + VAT)?
Please provide the full billing address.
Please provide the email address to be invoiced (Invoices are sent electronically).
If applicable please provide the PO number or reference that needs to appear on the invoice

Instructions on where to send your completed "Low impact EcIA report" will follow submission of this contact form.