Welcome to the Biodiversity Toolkit

The Biodiversity Planning Toolkit is a new versatile online resource - aimed at helping users to incorporate biodiversity into the planning system and new development.

The Toolkit has been created by the Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE) in partnership with a wide range of conservation and planning organisations across the United Kingdom. See – About Us

Innovative Visual Tools

The toolkit makes use of visual tools as well as text and in this respect we believe it is unique.

The interactive landscape has been specially designed to show biodiversity and geodiversity features in their correct landscape settings along with a growing number of the most commonly encountered development types.

An On-going Project

As with any other sort of 'toolbox', creation of the Biodiversity Planning Toolkit is an on-going project and even more text and visual graphics will be added over the coming months.

What's in the Toolkit?

There are two main parts to the Toolkit.

  • First, is the traditional web site where you will be able to find information through the left hand navigation menu and where, as and when necessary, information is displayed for each of the four countries in the United Kingdom.
  • Second, is the Interactive Landscape - accessed on the Home Page via the large landscape display. This contains a number of animated scenarios showing how biodiversity issues can be addressed in various types of development and in different planning situations. These can be accessed via drop down menu in the Types of Development button at the top of the landscape or by rolling the cursor over the development image in the actual landscape.

Click here for a quick tour of the web site and interactive scenarios

Interactive Landscape

The interactive landscape provides innovative animated scenarios to describe various aspects of biodiversity and geodivesity conservation. In particular:

All of the habitats in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and a very wide range of geodiversity features are present in the landscape. To find these, move the cursor over the screen to highlight habitats or geodivesity cross-sections. Then simply click on a highlighted feature to pull up more detailed information. Alternatively, search for a particular habitat or geodiversity feature, or development type through the drop down tabs at the top of the screen.

We are also in the process of creating a series of animated development scenarios; these include: Conversion of Rural Buildings, Residential Development, Wind Farm Development, Householder Applications and Green Infrastructure. More scenarios will be added over the coming months.

Note: Conversion of Rural Buildings is our most complete scenario and the others will be completed shortly.

Legislation, Policy and Practice

The toolkit provides users with easy access to all of the information that provides the statutory and policy framework for the conservation of biodiversity and geodiversity in the United Kingdom. As such, the toolkit includes summaries and links for:

  • all relevant primary biodiversity legislation
  • key statutory regulations
  • government policy and advice
  • good practice guidance and technical standards

This can be found by using the left hand navigation menu, and where appropriate information is displayed for each of the four countries in the United Kingdom.

Key Species, Habitats and Geodiversity

The toolkit provides a summary of all the important habitats identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and includes quick links to other key web sites that have more detailed information about their status and conservation. Information is also included on the various protection afforded to these habitats through statutory and non-statutory designations.

The legal protection given to protected species is also explained along with background information on Biodiversity Action Plan species. Over the course of time, detailed profiles will be prepared for many of the key species commonly encountered within the planning and development process. However, for the Toolkit Pilot summary information has been provided for bats and barn owls - and more detail will be added over the coming weeks.

Geodiversity information has also been included in Toolkit, and illustrative descriptions for a number of geodiversity features can be found by exploring the content within the navigation menu.

How to Incorporate Biodiversity and Geodiversity into Various Types of Development

The interactive landscape will be one of the main means by which the Toolkit explains how biodiversity and geodiversity can be incorporated into various types of development – with the animated farm scenario being our pilot for this approach. However, in addition, the Toolkit will signpost users to other useful references, web links, case studies and good practice – as well as highlighting the legal and policy implications that need to be addressed for each situation encountered.

Forward Planning

The Toolkit provides information explaining the issues to be considered at the forward planning stage, including: gathering a sufficient evidence base, biodiversity opportunity mapping, green infrastructure provision, setting spatial biodiversity objectives and targets and identifying potential for biodiversity enhancements.

Finding Expert Advice and Guidance

We hope that the Toolkit will be the preferred starting point for anybody searching for expert advice or guidance. Consequently, in addition to simple links to key conservation organisations, the toolkit will in the future also include other sources of expert advice - such as provision of a register of ecological consultants arranged by specialism and areas of interest/expertise.