The 10% Biodiversity Net Gain requirement was introduced by the Environment Act 2021 and will require developers to assess the type of habitat that would be affected the the proposed development and its condition before submitting plans to local planning authorities setting out how they will deliver BNG in the development proposals.
There are six draft statutory instruments which will become law when BNG comes into effect on 12th February 2024. However, small sites will be subject to a longer transition period,which will run until April 2024.
A small site does not fall into the category of a major development, as defined in article 2(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.
Exemptions to BNG requirements can be found here. These include small Self Build and Custom Housebuilding sites.
There are 3 ways a developer can achieve 10% BNG:
- They can enhance and restore biodiversity on-site (within the red line boundary of a development site).
- If developers can only achieve part of their BNG on-site, they can deliver through a mixture of on-site and off-site. Developers can either make off-site biodiversity gains on their own land outside the development site, or buy off-site biodiversity units on the market.
- If developers cannot achieve on-site or off-site BNG, they must buy statutory biodiversity credits from the government. This must be a last resort. The government will use the revenue to invest in habitat creation in England.
Developers can combine all 3 options, but must follow the steps in order. This order of steps is called the biodiversity gain hierarchy.
More details of these options are set out here.
We work with a number of Ecologists who can advise on BNG requirements for your site. We can also put you in touch with companies selling BNG credits for sites where the Biodiversity Net Gain requirement cannot be achieved.
Please contact us for further assistance and advice with your projects.