New Kent Planning Screening Application Tool

In partnership Kent County Council and the Kent and Medway Biological Record Centre have been developing a Planning Application Screening Tool to help the local authorities to fulfill their duty in protecting priority species and habitats and to demonstrate best practice with regards biodiversity considerations in planning development.

The features of the software have been designed in consultation with representatives from the Kent local authorities. The product has been developed to be compatible with all of the GIS software packages currently in use in Kent planning departments including MapInfo, UniForm, CadCorp, and ArcView.

The software will take the complete weekly planning list GIS layer and screen each individual polygon against a series of species and habitat datasets.  A summary report can then be produced for each site to assess the potential biodiversity impact of a proposed development. This summary will include the site location, the type of application, and a list showing the nearest record for any European protected species, all bats, reptiles and amphibians plus any designated sites found on or within a 1km buffer zone of a site. An interactive map of the site will be available within the tool, as part of the screening process, to show the application footprint in the context of the surrounding area.

A series of workshops was held at the KMBRC on 18th and 19th April for the Kent local authorities, giving participants the opportunity to test the tool and to give their feedback before the release of the final version.

The Kent PAST automated tool will provide the Kent local authorities an excellent and effective service with case by case evidence, reducing the time and delays to planning decisions. The latest ARCH Habitat data will also be integrated into the tool when available, offering Kent Districts the best available information on Kent habitat biodiversity.

For more information on the tool please contact Hannah Cook, KMBRC, centre manager Hannah.cook@kmbrc.org.uk

2 Mers Seas Zeeen Kent County Council Conservatoire Botanique National Bailleul
Region Nord-Pas de Calais Kent Biodiversity Action Partnership