Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is implemented through the planning system so make sure you have suitably qualified planning consultants helping you navigate this minefield.

Bloomfields Chartered Town Planners has proactively dealt with BNG requirements in various schemes, making them the go-to planning company for informed guidance on the potential impacts of BNG. Their qualified planning consultants can lead you through this complex scheme and, where necessary, consult with suitably qualified professionals, such as ecologists.

Ben Young, Senior Chartered Associate at Bloomfields, reports that on November 29, 2023, the Government released crucial details regarding BNG, clarifying its significance, measurement, and the mandatory implementation starting in January 2024. As anticipated, applicants are obligated to achieve a 10% biodiversity net gain, ensuring that a development enhances or creates more high-quality natural habitats than existed before. The measurement of biodiversity, within the BNG framework, employs standardised units, varying based on habitat size, quality, and location. The statutory biodiversity metric tool is employed to calculate the initial biodiversity units (the units needed to offset losses) and ultimately achieve the 10% BNG.

Starting January 2024, BNG will impact a wide array of developments, encompassing major residential schemes, with smaller residential sites following suit in April 2024. However, certain exemptions exist, such as for householder development and specific self-build and custom build applications.

BNG can be achieved through three methods, adhering to the biodiversity gain hierarchy:

  • Enhancing and restoring biodiversity on-site within the development red line boundary.
  • A combination of on-site and off-site provision, allowing developers to make gains beyond the site, or purchase biodiversity units from the market.
  • As a last resort, developers can buy statutory biodiversity credits from the Government, with the revenue allocated to habitat creation in England.

To fulfil BNG requirements, a land manager must legally commit to creating, enhancing, and managing habitats for a minimum of 30 years. This responsibility extends to both on-site and off-site gains. Planning applications for developments requiring BNG must include additional details from January 2024, such as a baseline metric calculation illustrating the sites initial biodiversity value and a plan outlining on-site enhancements. A legal agreement, alongside a habitat management and monitoring plan, is also mandatory. If planning permission is granted, submission of a biodiversity gain plan is necessary for approval before any development can commence.

For further assistance with your BNG needs, contact your nearest Bloomfields office; West Kent 01892 831 600, East Kent 01303 814 444, Sussex 01435 873 999. Alternatively, email info@bloomfieldstltd.co.uk