Municipal general plan and biologically active area – new regulations

Plan ogólny gminy

A draft regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology on the preparation of a draft municipal general plan – a document in the nature of a local legal act, intended to replace the study of land use conditions and directions – was published in recent days. The regulation provides detailed guidelines for its preparation, including new rules for determining biologically active areas. Local governments must create a municipal master plan by January 1, 2026.

New regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology – what does it contain?

The draft ordinance sets out guidelines on the basis of which local governments will have to create the first municipal general plan. It presents, among other things. methods for calculating the demand for residential development and the absorption capacity of undeveloped land, detailed rules for designations and naming, as well as the characteristics of planning zones and the rate of minimum biologically active area (PBC).

Recent efforts by lawmakers on spatial conditioning have seen a move to standardize planning standards and related documentation, and to adopt a pro-environmental attitude in the spirit of sustainable development.

This is evidenced by the nationwide level of regulation of biologically active space (PBC) and the extension of the need to preserve it in almost all types of planning zones. Although the concept of biologically active area has functioned in Polish legislation before, its importance has now increased.

Biologically active area – what is it?

While the municipality’s general plan is something entirely new, the term “biologically active area” has functioned under other names before. Both the nomenclature and the definition of the term have been modified over the years.

According to the latest legislation, dated July 7, 2023. On amendments to the Law on Planning and Spatial Development, biologically active area is the area that provides for natural vegetation of plants and retention of rainwater and snowmelt, the area covered by watercourses or water reservoirs, excluding recreational and industrial pools, as well as 50 percent. the surface of terraces and flat roofs and other areas providing natural vegetation of plants, with an area of not less than 10m2.

Size of biologically active area – new regulations

The size of biologically active areas has so far been determined by a decree of the Minister of Infrastructure dated April 12, 2002. According to its provisions, for building plots intended for multi-family housing, buildings for health care, education and upbringing, it should be at least 25%, unless there were other arrangements included in the local zoning plan.

This means that previous statutory provisions on the value of the minimum PBC, in relation to the size of the development, applied only to a few types of buildings, and in other cases were set with great discretion at the municipal level.

The latest ordinance distinguishes thirteen planning zones, ten of which set a minimum proportion of 30 percent of biologically active areas. Accordingly, the new regulations will apply to almost all the areas that the municipality’s general plan will cover, including, among others, the following. service zones, large-format trade, and even areas of warehouses and storage or technical infrastructure.

General plan of the municipality – increase in importance of biologically active areas

It may seem that the regulation has a purpose strictly technical – after all, it contains guidelines for how to create a municipality’s master plan. However, it is important to note the changes in terms of biologically active areas. Not only has their minimum share been increased from 25 percent to 30 percent, but their mandatory presence has been extended to almost all types of planning zones.

In addition, the fact that the ordinance regulates PBC at the national level is of particular importance not only for spatial governance, but also fits into the tenets of sustainable development and is part of climate change adaptation.

More biologically active areas means more greenery

The municipality’s master plan is a step towards more efficient land management, but also towards nature and ecological protection. Increasing the proportion of biologically active areas will bring more greenery to the landscape.

No to betonose

More greenery in built-up spaces breeds a number of positive effects. Some of the most obvious include. An increase in the attractiveness of the areas and a better perception by residents.

We are feeling the effects of concrete abuse firsthand – public places have become unfavorable environments, both for people and animals. Hot weather, disfigurement of spaces, increased stress levels or deterioration of air quality are just some of the effects of eliminating greenery from the urban landscape. The new regulation is expected to improve the quality of life in built-up areas.

Biologically active surfaces support small-scale retention

We are constantly seeing rising temperatures with decreasing rainfall, resulting in drought. Increasing the share of PBCs is an excellent way to increase the so-called “PBCs. small-scale retention. Such action is therefore of great importance with regard to changing climatic conditions. Our country, for the moment, has insufficient retention capacity. To increase it, it is important to take multifaceted action, even on a small scale.

Vegetated areas cause rainwater to be retained and inhibit runoff, which is crucial in developed areas. Biologically active surfaces will thus contribute to reducing the risk of flooding in the event of heavy rainfall, and more broadly to improving the microclimate and increasing biodiversity at the local and national levels.

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