Spatial planning brings together and integrates policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function.
Our work helps ensure that the spatial planning system:
conserves and enhances the natural environment through the wise use of natural resources;
mitigates and adapts to the impacts of climate change;
provides the highest levels of protection for England's protected habitats, sites, species and landscapes;
is based on robust environmental evidence and a thorough understanding of environmental capacity and the cumulative impacts of development;
delivers substantial benefits for the natural environment and people together. This should include enhancement of biodiversity and landscape, opportunities to access and enjoy the natural environment and the provision of multi-functional green infrastructure.
We are a statutory consultee on environmental assessment processes and many development proposals, including Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
We are also a statutory consultee on local plans, strategic environmental assessment, neighbourhood plans, environmental impact assessment and many development proposals. We have particular responsibilities for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Ramsar Sites, National Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and protected species.
We also offer a Discretionary Advice Service (DAS) at the pre-application and post consent stages of development proposals. This is geared towards cases with the potential for significant impact on protected terrestrial and marine sites, landscapes and species, or which could deliver significant environmental gain, supporting sustainable development.
Our performance in handling land use planning consultations.
Natural England and the RSPB work in partnership in The Nature After Minerals Programme, with support from the Mineral Products Association and working with mineral planners and industry to help nature following minerals extraction. More information about the programme: (23kb).
See our spatial planning publications under Land use publications.
(10 December 2012) A £150 million reservoir expansion project is bringing a host of benefits for wildlife, thanks to a partnership between Essex and Suffolk Water and Natural England.
(22 August 2012) The opening of an onion store within Breckland Special Protection Area (SPA) - classified for its nationally rare population of stone curlew - could be an important turning point for further sustainable development.
New information for Developers
Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission have produced a joint document to help our customers understand our respective roles relating to new development.
Capturing the legacy of London 2012
Organisers are setting new standards by embedding sustainability in all aspects of the event.
Microeconomic Evidence for the Benefits of Investment in the Environment
Research report (NERR033)
Planning for the environment at the neighbourhood level
Advice to local communities jointly prepared by Environment Agency, English Heritage, Forestry Commission and Natural England
Association of Local Environmental Record Centres (ALERC) guidance on accessing biodiversity information (PDF)
Guidance for Local Authorities on accessing information including the distribution of legally protected, rare or threatened species, important habitats and designated sites.