Biodiversity Net Gain – What does this mean for my project?

14 February 2024

CampbellReith are continuing to support development projects that require the consideration of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). The Environment Team provide a quick summary of what this means below:

  • BNG became a mandatory requirement from 12th February 2024 on all large developments seeking planning permission in England. It will also be mandatory from 2 April 2024 for all small developments and from late November 2025 for Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects.  This means that as a minimum developers must deliver a minimum of 10% BNG in accordance with The Environment Act 2021 and National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to ensure that a development will result in more or better quality natural habitat than there was before development. 
  • Some Local Authorities require additional BNG on top of the 10% BNG (such as 20% BNG) through their adopted and emerging Local Plans.  Where this occurs, the higher local requirements take precedence. 
  • The Biodiversity Metric is a tool used to measure the biodiversity value of a site for the purposes of BNG.  It measures all types of habitats taking into account the habitats’ size, condition, strategic significance and type and then calculates biodiversity in standardised biodiversity units.  The metric then calculates how many units a habitat contains before development takes place and how many units are needed to replace the units of habitats lost and to achieve 10% BNG, through the creation or enhancement of habitat. 
  • Where BNG is created on the development site, then there will be requirements to manage and maintain the habitats created or enhanced for a minimum of 30 years which will be secured through planning permissions. 
  • Where the BNG requirements cannot be met on-site then, either it will need to be secured and created off-site or BNG credits will be secured and purchased from nearby biodiversity enhancement habitat schemes (Habitat Banks). 
  • Local Planning Authorities will play a crucial role in assessing and approving development proposals. They will need to consider the Biodiversity Net Gain requirements and ensure that the proposed projects meet the necessary standards and that all enhanced or created habitats are fully secured.
  • Developers will be required to monitor and report on the biodiversity outcomes of their projects. This will include providing evidence of the achieved net gain and the implementation of any required mitigation and enhancement measures.

These new rules aim to mainstream Biodiversity Net Gain in the planning process and ensure that development projects contribute to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with either Alan Poulton or Grant Plain.