The Five Point Approach

A Five Point Approach is suggested in the Royal Town Planning Institute's (RTPI) publication 'Planning for Biodiversity' (D. Tyldesley; 1999) for making planning decisions where biodiversity may be involved.  This sequential approach sets out a series of key principles and is as relevant to the development plan making process as it is to the development control and management process.

The approach does not attempt to attach weight to biodiversity issues because that will vary from case to case. It is intended to complement the existing planning process  by ensuring that  harm to biodiversity is avoided whenever possible; that any residual harm is minimised in every case, and compensated for wherever appropriate, and that new benefits for biodiversity are recognised and encouraged.

The Five Points are explained below:

Information

Is more information about the site’s biological resource needed? Is more information about the development and its potential effects needed? Is the significance of the effects clear? Is there internal or external expertise that can help to inform the decision? 

Avoidance

Have all adverse effects on wildlife species and habitats been avoided whenever possible?
 

Mitigation

Where adverse effects are unavoidable have they been or can they be minimized by the use of mitigation measures that can be guaranteed, for example, by conditions or planning obligations/agreements? 

Compensation

Where, despite mitigation, there will be residual adverse effects that mitigation cannot reduce further, have there been or can they be compensated by measures that try at least to offset the harm? Can the compensatory measures be guaranteed by conditions or planning obligations/agreements? 

Enhancements/New Benefits

Where there would be no significant harm to wildlife species or habitats, are there opportunities to provide new benefits for wildlife, for example, by habitat creation or enhancement and can these new benefits be guaranteed by conditions or planning obligations/agreements?