From November 2023, Biodiversity Net Gain will be a mandatory requirement for any new housing, commercial and infrastructure developments. This means that, as a condition of planning permission, any new development must demonstrate a net gain of a minimum of 10% of the biodiversity value on the site, measured using Defra’s Biodiversity Metric.
As part of this, developers will have to assess the type and condition of habitat affected before submitting plans to the local planning authority, detailing how they will deliver a 10% benefit for nature.
The government has announced £16m in funding for local planning authorities to implement BNG and has provided guidance to land managers detailing how to sell biodiversity units as a land manager, how to combine environmental payments and more about the biodiversity metric.
Habitats directly affected within the boundary of a development will need to be replaced on a ‘like for like’ or ‘like for better’ principle, with developers required to demonstrate how they are replacing and improving biodiversity using ‘biodiversity metric trading’ rules.
In circumstances where habitat improvements are not possible, developers will be able to pay for improvements on sites elsewhere by purchasing units via a private, off-site market.
The latest changes are targeted towards developments which would generate the most impact to our environment. Therefore, small sites will be subject to a longer transition period, from April 2024, and exemptions will be made for self-built homes and other localised developments.
Biodiversity Net Gain is part of a series of actions that the government hopes will halt species decline by 2023.
Stay tuned for further insight and analysis from the CLA.