Following recent press coverage, I wrote to the Future Generations Commissioner. The response I received makes it clear that it is down to the local planning authority to apply its policy, and the Commissioner is not empowered to intervene. You can see the letter from her department in full here:
Although this might be somewhat dissapointing, I was also sent a copy of a letter sent by the Welsh Government’s Chief Planner, Neil Hemington, to local planning authorities in Wales in October 2019. It notes that the protection and enhancement of nature and biodiversity is a material consideration for every planning application. The Commissioner’s office states that
“any planning decision should clearly set out how this has been considered and this may be judicially reviewed”.
The Chief Planner’s letter states that:
“where biodiversity enhancement is not proposed as part of an application, significant weight will be given to its absence, and unless other significant material considerations indicate otherwise it will be necessary to refuse permission”.