Biodiversity Net Gain was introduced through the world-leading Environment Act and will be fundamental in helping the country meet targets to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030.
At its core, BNG is about contributing to the recovery of nature during the development process. It mandates that the habitat for wildlife post-development must be in a better state than it was before the development began.
Starting from January 2024, as per the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, BNG will be mandatory for most developments, with small sites coming under its umbrella from April 2024.
The aim? A legally binding commitment to deliver a 10% positive impact on local environments. This can be achieved through creating new habitats, green spaces, or any means that boost the local ecology.
The goal is to avoid habitat loss. However, if that's not feasible, developers must either:
Create habitat on-site: This refers to the actual land earmarked for development.
Go off-site: Either on a different land owned by the developer or by purchasing units from a land manager.
Buy statutory credits from the government: This is the last resort, where the government then invests in habitat creation elsewhere in England.
It's crucial to involve an ecologist and obtain local planning authority's approval before commencement.
Metrics like Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 3.1 are tools to measure biodiversity changes. They provide a 'unit value' for every habitat on a site based on its biodiversity value. Factors like habitat size, distinctiveness, rarity, strategic significance, condition, connectivity, and local importance are considered.
At the moment we can only speculate as to what this might look like. But, by the end of November 2023 we should have:
While we await the criteria from the Government, let’s take a look at some of the pioneering ways developers are currently working to improve environmental impact.
Biodiversity Net Gain is England's commitment to a brighter, greener future. It is a testament to the belief that nature and development can not only co-exist but can also mutually benefit from one another. As developers and landowners, embracing BNG is not just about compliance; it's about paving the way for sustainable growth and a lasting legacy.
One of our experts can walk you through the platform in a live session, one-to-one.