The UK government has announced new measures to increase biodiversity through the implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain. This measure, which will come into effect in November 2023, will require developers to ensure that any development project provides a net gain for biodiversity.
The government’s recent announcement on the 21st February 2023 `comes after an extensive consultation period, where regulations and implementation strategies were debated. The government has since outlined how biodiversity net gain will work in practice, as well as the requirements that will be set through secondary legislation.
The key points from the 21 February announcement include a phased introduction for Biodiversity Net Gain, with small sites having until April 2024 to comply with the regulations. Small sites are defined as those with one to nine inclusive dwellings on a site less than one hectare in area or with a site area of less than 0.5 hectares where the number of dwellings is not known.
To ensure compliance with Biodiversity Net Gain, Local Planning Authorities with planning oversight will receive £16 million in funding. This funding will be used to expand resources and upskill teams, including ecologists, to increase their capacity to work with developers and communities to secure a long-lasting legacy for nature.
In addition, a statutory credit scheme will be established as a last resort option for Biodiversity Net Gain delivery, to prevent delays in the planning system. Developers who cannot deliver habitat onsite or via the off-site market can purchase credits, and the proceeds will be invested in habitat creation.
The government has made exemptions for self-build homes and householder applications to ensure that implementation is targeted towards developments with the most significant impact.
Land managers can take action ahead of November 2023 to prepare for selling biodiversity units, including baselining habitat and thinking about how to price units. The government will publish further guidance in phases throughout the spring, covering topics such as the securing of biodiversity gain sites, management, monitoring, and reporting. To read more about the guidance, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/biodiversity-net-gain
In light of this announcement we’re conscious that we have not provided any information about Biodiversity Net Gain, to rectify this we’ve published a FREE Practical Guide covering the basics of Biodiversity Net Gain.
The Government have published Understanding Biodiversity Net Gain which provides the basics of BNG. And new guidance has been published on: