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Biodiversity simply refers to all living things. All plants and animals contribute to our planet's biodiversity with each individual species playing its own unique part.
Construction and the increased modernisation of our lives have harmed biodiversity; the pressures of urban expansion place an ever-increasing demand on natural resources in urban areas. Halting biodiversity loss is a huge challenge, particularly in the light of climate change, which will exacerbate many of the adverse drivers.
All development has some impact on biodiversity. There are numerous pieces of legislation and many site designations in place at a local, national, EU and UN level to help conserve and enhance it. But good sustainable development and regeneration should not only react to the existing legislative and planning framework, but take a 'beyond compliance' approach that can provide opportunities to contribute to and promote biodiversity in general. This will, in turn, widen sustainable design and construction objectives.
It is not only new developments that can be enhanced for biodiversity. Through incorporation of planting and management regimes, green roofs, green walls and other ecological features, any space can be improved for wildlife.
The Sustainable Construction Strategy sets out that all construction projects over £1m should have biodiversity surveys carried out and necessary actions instigated. BREEAM, CEEQUAL, LEED and the Code for Sustainable Homes, help contractors to measure and report on biodiversity impacts as part of wider environmental assessments.
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