A Guide to Biodiversity Net Gain
The Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) principle is aimed at ensuring that any development that impacts the environment will eventually have a net positive effect. Once passed into law with the new Environment Bill, biodiversity net gain will be an essential part of any new development that impacts the environment.
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Developers will need to show that either within their developments and/or by creating offset land away from the development, they have produced a net gain to the environment of at least 10%. An ecologist or landscape architect will be able to help put plans together that fulfil the requirements to ensure that developments pass through the planning stage with local authorities. It is wise to get plans in place early in the development lifecycle – the earlier a plan is in place for biodiversity net gain, the more it will become a natural part of the development.
JPR Environmental can help developers once plans are in place with the following services:
- Site clearance, particularly where there are sensitivities due to protected species
- Habitat creation including planting and wetland creation
- Habitat translocation including hedgerows and grasslands
We are experienced at working with ecologists and landscape architects with the aim of accurately interpreting plans and designs and making them a reality on the ground. Our staff have many years of experience working with protected species and the company has a wide variety of plant and equipment that is both efficient but has minimal impact on the environment.
Read on if you are interested in knowing more about Biodiversity Net Gain
How will biodiversity net gain be measured?
Planning policy will require the achievement of an increase in biodiversity as measured using a biodiversity metric such as Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0. This metric is used to assess the baseline biodiversity unit value of a site, and then to calculate the predicted unit value of the developed site based on the proposed plans. It allows different on-site and offsite compensation scenarios to be modelled and the creation and long-term management costs to be compared.
Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 is in the consultation phase – click here to see the latest document.
Standards of practice
The British Standard BS8683 is currently being finalised and will cover the process for designing and implement biodiversity net gain.
CIEEM have developed, along with other organisations, a good-practice guide for implement BNG: C766a Good Practice Principles for Development. Many ecological consultancies adhere to these principles
Can the net gain be offset?
If it is not possible to achieve a net gain in biodiversity on site whilst still delivering a viable project, developers will be able to contribute at a local or regional project to offset their development. This might actually result in greater gains for biodiversity overall and could be easier for the developer to work into their plans. However, the metrics used to measure biodiversity net gain for planning will favour plans that are either on site or very close to the site and score them accordingly.