Collington Winter Environmental
Biodiversity Banking: Biodiversity Net Gain Units
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What is Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)?
Biodiversity Net Gain refers to the concept in which developers should aim to, not only reduce the loss of biodiversity, but also improve upon it and leave the environment in a better state than it was before initiating a development project. This concept has been around for years; however, the Environment Act, which was mandated in 2021, will make Biodiversity Net Gain mandatory by the end of 2023, meaning environmental impacts of development should be minimised and a 10% gain will be required.
Details on how Biodiversity Net Gain will be achieved should be included within planning applications. Biodiversity banking and biodiversity offsets can be used to assist developers in meeting their BNG unit requirements.
What are Biodiversity Net Gain Units?
Biodiversity units are used to measure and calculate biodiversity value of land. To calculate the uplift, the number of units is increased by a minimum of 10%. This value is the number that will be required to be delivered in order to obtain development planning permission.
Biodiversity net gain can be implemented on-site and should be maintained for a minimum of 30 years. If net gain of 10% or more cannot be completed and maintained on-site, or can only be partially completed on-site, the remainder can be accommodated off site using biodiversity banking.
What is Biodiversity Banking?
Biodiversity banking, also known as habitat banking, was created to accommodate for the demand of delivering high biodiversity net gain. Developers can use biodiversity banking to generate “conservation credits”. These credits can be purchased by a developer to ensure they comply with biodiversity net gain requirements.
Habitat or biodiversity banks are areas of land upon which habitats can be created to significantly improve biodiversity. These areas are usually around 10 to 100 hectares in size. However, there is no maximum size for the habitats, and they often incorporate a number of small areas of land across one site.
The type of habitats that can be created depend on the land operations and the location. Our consultants work closely with developers on projects to decide which types of habitats will create the best outcome for nature on the land. The types of habitats created by our team typically include species rich woodland, wetland, grassland, mixed scrub or re-wilding sites. The land used is typically low yielding with plenty of opportunity to improve biodiversity.
How can we assist?
We are a team of ecologists and biodiversity net gain experts who regularly assist developers in obtaining planning permission. We have extensive experience in assisting developers in attaining the required biodiversity net gain units through biodiversity banking and BNG offsetting. We can also aid in securing them for 30 years to gain planning permission for their future developments.
We source and provide biodiversity net gain units and take care of the management and reporting for the required 30 years. This allows you to focus on your development projects.
Our biodiversity net gain consultants have helped numerous clients over the years in both public and private sectors. Achieving BNG and avoiding biodiversity loss through development is something that we are experienced and qualified in. We can offer advice on planning projects and landscape management plan requirements.
Some of the additional services our team can offer include:
- Biodiversity net gain guidance
- Biodiversity net gain assessments
- Site condition assessments
- Biodiversity net gain mitigation
There are three stages of BNG assessments, and we assist our clients during the very early stages of development, including promotions and land purchases. We can complete an informal initial assessment for sites of interest. This helps our clients understand the probable implications and costings of Biodiversity Net Gain from the outset.
Please get in touch if you would like further information about biodiversity net gain, or biodiversity net gain plans. We are happy to offer free CPD sessions on the biodiversity good practice principles and how we can help your schemes achieve this.
4 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton
01204 939 608