Collington Winter Environmental
Biodiversity Net Gain Consultant for Developments
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Biodiversity net gain (BNG) refers to the process whereby a development project considers the environmental impact in terms of biodiversity. It aims to ensure that biodiversity is left in a better state than before the development was completed by avoiding biodiversity loss, retaining various habitat types, and protecting any assets of strategic significance. It also aims to secure measurable net gains for at least 30 years.
BNG has now become a part of UK legislation, which means that it will become a mandatory point for all upcoming projects in England. Biodiversity net gain is also being requested more frequently by local planning authorities to inform planning applications for planning permission.
Biodiversity net gain consultants can help to ensure that development plans meet the necessary biodiversity net gain requirements so that a development project can obtain planning permission.
Biodiversity net gain consultants
As biodiversity net gain is closely connected with ecology, biodiversity net gain consultants often work as ecological consultants and can conduct various types of ecological surveys. This also means that consultants will possess the same knowledge as an ecologist and can conduct further surveys such as preliminary ecological appraisals (PEA), habitat surveys or protected species surveys if necessary.
At Collington Winter, our ecologists have made themselves fully aware of all biodiversity net gain requirements and planning policies to assist all clients in obtaining planning permission.
What does a biodiversity net gain consultant do?
A biodiversity net gain consultant will initially visit a development site to analyse all important ecological features on the site, including both flora and fauna. This is done in order to take a biodiversity net gain calculation and establish a biodiversity value using the DEFRA biodiversity metric (currently metric 4.0).
Following this, the consultant can then use their findings alongside the plans from the developer to calculate biodiversity net gain. The consultant will be able to determine the impact that the development will have on local biodiversity in the area. All details and biodiversity metrics from the biodiversity net gain assessment of the development site will be included in a BNG management plan.
If it is determined that mitigation methods may be required to reach biodiversity net gain the consultant will be able to recommend methods specific to the development site or recommend purchasing biodiversity units for off-site habitat creation.
Why is biodiversity net gain mandatory?
The Environment Bill was passed this year; therefore, BNG will soon become a legal requirement through the forthcoming Environment Act in 2023. However, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) also requires a net gain approach, which should be achieved in a measurable way.
The Environment Act 2021 received royal assent in England in November 2021. It introduces a requirement to deliver biodiversity gain for developments in England. There is a two-year transition period before the net gain requirement becomes law.
The aim is to get clients to think about biodiversity during the initial land acquisition and design stages and avoid retro-fitting the in post development. Retrofitting will often lead to delays, unpredicted financial costs and difficulties with planning application determinations.
How can Collington Winter assist?
Our team of ecologists and landscape architects have helped numerous clients over the years, including with policy guidance for mandatory biodiversity net gain in England. It is important to note that this varies across each Local Planning Authority in the country and local plans.
Please get in touch if you would like further information about Biodiversity Net Gain or Landscape Management Plans. We are happy to offer free CPD sessions on the Biodiversity Net Gain Principles and how we can help your schemes achieve this.
Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England license. If you would like to find out more about the services we provide, feel free to contact us using the details below.
23 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton
01204 939 608