This Strategy sets out the vision for 2020 to 2025 to help Sutton work towards the Council's declared Climate and Ecological Emergency.
It identifies habitats and species in the Borough that are of national, regional and local importance and outlines a plan of action for their protection, management and enhancement.

The purpose of the strategy 

Sutton’s Biodiversity Strategy is a plan of action to ensure that plants, animals and ecosystems are conserved, protected and enhanced and that progress is tracked, using measurable targets.

Download the Biodiversity Strategy:

Biodiversity Strategy

FIve key habitats are presented through the Strategy:

  1. Woodland and Scrub
  2. Chalk Grasslands
  3. Rivers and Wetlands
  4. Parks and Green Spaces
  5. Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Net Gain

An explanation of Sutton's Biodiversity Strategy: 2020-2025

Biodiversity does not stop at the borough boundary, so although this strategy concentrates on what Sutton will do to deliver for local wildlife, it clearly acknowledges through Policy Bd6 that: "The Council will proactively work with the GLA to fulfil regional targets and national organisations (such as Natural England and DEFRA) in the delivery of landscape scale work, such as the Nature Recovery Network and mandated Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)".

This is a living plan, so from time to time it will be necessary to amend and update sections. This is where YOU can influence the future direction of the London Borough of Sutton, to ensure that it remains great for wildlife and people.
If you have comments on the Biodiversity Strategy, please contact the Biodiversity Team.

Whilst most of the actions are for the Council to undertake, in partnership with other key stakeholders, such as the South East Rivers Trust (SERT), it is vital that all residents help local biodiversity.

The Strategy outlines ways in which people can help wildlife. One of the most important is through supporting local conservation organisations. The London Borough of Sutton has been supporting and facilitating the work of Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers (SNCV) for over 30 years, to deliver 'Nature on you Doorstep'. The SNCV website holds some really useful information on what residents can do to help local wildlife, particularly through wildlife gardening.

Submitting wildlife sightings from within Sutton to London's Biological Record Centre, Greenspace Information for Greater London also helps provide more information on our species, their abundance and distribution.  You can download a recording sheet from them.

The Biodiversity Strategy is also essential reading for developers wishing to make planning applications within the London Borough of Sutton, as it clarifies and expands on planning policies and guidance as to how Sutton will assess planning applications, especially Biodiversity Net Gain.

Biodiversity Net Gain 

One of the most significant aspects of this Biodiversity Strategy is that it provides further information and guidance on the delivery of of No Net Loss and Biodiversity Net Gain through planning applications. 

Policy 26 of the Local Plan 2018-2031 states that: "The council will protect and enhance Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation, Green Corridors and biodiversity. It will ensure the restoration of Beddington Farmlands is completed to the agreed quality and
implement its Biodiversity Action Plan and agri-environment schemes.  Major new development should result in no net loss in biodiversity value, as assessed against the DEFRA biodiversity offsetting metric, the Environment Bank Biodiversity Impact Calculator or any metric which the council subsequently adopts formally. New development should incorporate opportunities to enhance biodiversity, wherever possible.

The adopted Building a Sustainable Sutton: Technical Guidance Note for Developers Section 2 'Biodiversity Accounting', outlines in more detail how the Council will deliver No Net Loss and Biodiversity Net Gain.

It also clearly states that "Biodiversity Accounting will also be applied, judiciously, to those applications of medium and possibly, small size that suggest the loss or impact on an amount of biodiversity, habitat or green space, including back garden land and the above plans, to ensure that, as far as possible, the council captures all relevant information on biodiversity loss and gain."

Therefore, it is not just major developments that will be evaluated. Further information on the ecological surveys required to be submitted with a planning application is provided via the Local Validation List and in detail in Validation Information: Biodiversity. 

More information, principles and guidance for the UK construction industry and developers on the adoption of Biodiversity Net Gain for developments is provided by CIEEM.

How does it work?

  1. When considering development sites, there will need to be an assessment of the existing biodiversity value of the site ('Biodiversity Accounting'). This uses a 'biodiversity metric' to calculate the value of each habitat and its condition, based on the professional judgement and evidence submitted by a Suitably Qualified Ecologist within a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal or equivalent report, to support a planning application. This is termed the biodiversity 'baseline' for the site, pre-development and is in 'biodiversity units' or parts thereof.

  2. The post-development score for the development site is generated through detailed consideration of the retention of habitats and the creation or enhancement of new habitats, including soft landscaping, green infrastructure and specific habitat creation or enhancement (woodland, grassland etc.) within the 'biodiversity metric'.

  3. The post-development value is subtracted from the pre-development 'baseline value' to determine whether Net Loss or Net Gain is likely to be achieved.

  4. If Net Loss is the likely outcome, there are two options: 

    1. The landscaping is modified to achieve No Net Loss on the development site - this may involve increasing the area(s) of habitat created, installing biodiverse roofs if they were not initially provided etc.

    2. Biodiversity Offsetting is undertaken.

'Biodiversity Metric'

A swathe of information and has been provided for the national mandate for Biodiversity Net Gain. The Statutory Metric is now acceptable for submission with planning applications. This needs to follow the statutory guidance and include all necessary Condition Assessment sheets.

Green Infrastructure

'Green infrastructure' (GI) is a term that is used to describe those aspects of urban greening that will enhance nature's ability to deliver multiple valuable ecosystem goods and services, potentially providing a wide range of environmental, social, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and biodiversity benefits. In most cases, this will be through the provision of soft landscaping, the use of biodiverse roofs, living walls and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that have biodiversity as a key part of their design.

The Biodiversity Strategy outlines how Sutton will apply the principles of green infrastructure to developments within Appendix B5, Section 3.2. Importantly, sedum roofs should not be used. The Council wishes to see the creation of 'biodiverse' roofs, as laid out in Policy 33 (33.12) of the Local Plan 2018-2031 and Section 3.2.1 'Living Roofs' of the Biodiversity Strategy.

Section 3.2.4 Species Requirements also includes information on how developments should not only work to protect and enhance habitats but also to provide features for locally important species, including but not limited to swifts, bats, house sparrows and hedgehogs.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this the Biodiversity Strategy in a more accessible format please email us at and let us know what format you need the document to be provided and we will try to meet your request.