Decision Maker: Corporate Director of Community Development
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
1/ To set out a proposed charging schedule for
monitoring of s106 agreements for Biodiversity Net Gain sites for
all sites where such an obligation exists.
2/ To outline the legislative and policy background to monitoring of section 106 agreements
3/ To set out why a monitoring charge is considered necessary and what activities the proposed charge relates to.
5/ To present some examples of charging structures implemented by other local authorities
6/ To seek permission of the Corporate Director of Community Development, to authorise a charging structure for monitoring fees associated with off-site or on-site BNG.
7/ To note that according to government guidance the BNG monitoring fees may only reflect costs incurred and may not be used to generate revenue for other services outside BNG.
i. That the Corporate Director of Community
Development approves the principle of charging fees for BNG
monitoring and reporting on the basic of full cost recovery.
ii. That the Corporate Director of Community Development authorises the charging structure for monitoring fees associated with off-site or on-site BNG as proposed in Appendix A.
iii. That the Corporate Director of Community Development notes the range of fees generated by the first iteration of the monitoring fees calculator from small low complexity sites to large high complexity sites is in line with fees set in other LPAs in the benchmarking case studies.
iv. That the Corporate Director of Community Development notes that the monitoring fees calculator will be reviewed at least annually in relation to inflation and pay awards and after 3-5 years will be subject to a more detailed review in light of data from the first few years.
To ensure that the rising costs of BNG
monitoring do not pose a financial burden on the council.
5.1 A range of charging structures were
considered, having reviewed other planning authority approaches.
Some LPAs have taken a simplified approach, without differentiation
of sites by technical difficulty. It was felt that by including
this variable in our calculator it better reflects the estimated
staff costs as the more difficult habitat types to create are more
likely to need close scrutiny and potentially officers engaging
with the site manger to agree remedial management.
5.2 Some LPAs have used number of Biodiversity Units rather than site area in hectares. It was felt that site area is easier to equate to officer time for conducting site visits, given also that habitat complexity is accounted for in our calculator.
5.3 Some LPAs have used just two site size category thresholds rather than three. Buckinghamshire – the other LPA to use a detailed calculator spreadsheet, has also used three size categories. The North Yorkshire calculator differs slightly in that the medium category starts at 5ha rather than 10ha.
5.4 We considered charging a fee at each monitoring event over the 30 years, determined at the time in relation to actual salaries /inflation etc at that point in time. This creates a disproportionate burden of administration charges (invoicing, processing etc). A single lump sum payment up-front was considered better, with a forward projection of inflationary increase.
5.5 Finance were consulted on appropriate figures to use for corporate overheads, salaries and inflation.
Publication date: 26/01/2024
Date of decision: 26/01/2024
Effective from: 06/02/2024