In the latest GCMA Insights podcast, a development expert discusses how clubs can make the most of any surplus land on their course, whilst also ensuring they abide by new ecological legislation For this episode, host Leighton Walker is joined by James Podesta of STRI Group, who works with sporting organisations to help them understand the development potential on their site, whilst also ensuring clubs consider the ecological impact any development would have. Whilst not suggesting large scale land sell-offs, James highlights that most clubs are likely to have areas of surplus land that, for one reason or another, are not in play and could potentially be looked at for development. 'From my perspective, we've been trying to introduce all our organisations introducing them to the concept of development,' James explains. 'It's trying to help them take a longer term view of their assets or facilities, and working with clubs and organisations to see how we might improve those going forward. 'It could be very simple operations in terms of how sites work and how they operate themselves, right through to new developments, buildings, facilities and access.' After a chat about the potential options for clubs, Leighton and James look at the specifics of the Biodiversity Net Gain credits scheme, which Natural England describes as, 'an approach to development, land and marine management that leaves biodiversity in a measurably better state than before the development took place. 'Currently, although certain sites are protected, there are limited mechanisms to value, maintain, enhance or create wider habitats. As a result, habitats continue to be lost to development, reducing nature's ability to connect and thrive. In the future, most developments will need to deliver a minimum 10% BNG. BNG is additional to existing habitat and species protections. Intended to reinforce the mitigation hierarchy, BNG aims to create new habitat as well as enhance existing habitats, ensuring the ecological connectivity they provide for wildlife is retained and improved.' James explains the practical impact of BNG: 'If you do anything in development terms on your golf course, then you are required to provide at least a 10% improvement in the biodiversity net gain. 'This boils down to flora and fauna, wildlife habitats, particularly protected species and making sure that they are protected through the development process and that you're actually having a positive enhancement on availability of habitats for those animals and plants.' Listen now: For the full Golf Club Talk UK library, click here.
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