September 1st, 2021

Biodiversity Net Gain

You may have heard a new term in the news recently of ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’ or BNG for short.

Under the Government’s flagship Environment Bill, both Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) developments will need to deliver a minimum 10 per cent BNG. The idea is to achieve an overall increase in biodiversity at a development site, by an ongoing condition in a planning approval, guaranteed for a period of at least 30 years.

BNG provides a significant opportunity to ensure that developments provide lasting benefits for wildlife and to people’s ability to experience nature where they live and work. It is therefore important that BNG is delivered to a good standard, in the right places and in a manner that is transparent and can be managed, monitored, and maintained for the long term.

Whilst there will be some exceptions to the biodiversity net gain requirement (for example permitted development or minor householder applications) and it may be some time before the necessary secondary legislation is provided (expected late 2023 for TCPA schemes and late 2025 for NSIPs), developers who are acquiring sites now should factor in BNG obligations when undertaking their site appraisals.