Collington Winter Environmental
Biodiversity Net Gain Guidance: How Our Team Can Help
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Biodiversity net gain (BNG) will now become a mandatory point for all upcoming development projects in England as it is now a part of UK legislation. Biodiversity net gain is an approach whereby a development project considers its environmental impact in terms of biodiversity and nature recovery.
BNG aims to leave the natural environment in a better state than before the development was completed. This is possible by avoiding biodiversity loss, protecting any assets of strategic significance and retaining various habitat types. Once implemented, BNG aims to secure habitat creation and preservation for at least the next 30 years.
Biodiversity net gain is being requested more frequently by local planning authorities to inform planning applications for planning permission. The aim is to demonstrate how the proposed development will benefit biodiversity in a measurable way.
The Environment Bill was first introduced in November 2021 as it received royal assent. Therefore, BNG is due to become a legal requirement through The Environment Act 2023. The Act also includes a provision for secondary legislation. The National Planning Policy Framework also requires a net gain approach which should be achieved in a measurable manner.
Calculating Biodiversity Net Gain
Metrics assign every habitat on a development site a ‘biodiversity unit value’ according to its relative importance for biodiversity. This enables a comparison between the existing value of a development site and what will be delivered both pre and post development to secure measurable net gains. This may include an increase in natural habitats through enhancement/creation and retention.
Biodiversity net gain is able to be calculated through the DEFRA biodiversity metric 4.0, which requires a limited number of factors. These factors include:
The type of habitat (both on and off site)
- Any locations (if they are local environment priorities)
- The size of habitat parcels in kilometres or hectares
- The condition of any habitat parcels
A biodiversity net gain consultant can then use these metrics to create a BNG report which will give an overall grade of the site in terms of biodiversity net gain. This report can then be used to determine whether the site will meet the biodiversity standards required to obtain planning permission from the local planning authorities.
Biodiversity Net Gain Guidance
If you are unsure of how mandatory biodiversity net gain might affect your planning application for planning permission, you should get in contact with your local planning authority immediately, as they can discuss your initial local plans and their BNG criteria. If they indicate that your development could be impacted, we recommend that you contact an experienced biodiversity net gain consultant as soon as possible.
BNG consultants can conduct any necessary biodiversity net gain assessments and provide further biodiversity net gain guidance. They can also discuss any potential mitigation methods you may need to take in order to meet these standards.
At Collington Winter, our team has strong experience meeting biodiversity net gain requirements and can provide biodiversity net gain guidance throughout the entire planning process. We will ensure that one of our professional BNG consultants visits your development site to create and develop any necessary biodiversity net gain plans and assessments.
Our consultants will complete a habitat classification assessment, and the data is entered into a metric to measure changes to the environment in pre and post development. This metric is currently Defra Metric 4.0. Land management plans are used to inform post development measures.
How Can We Assist With Biodiversity Net Gain Guidance?
Our team of biodiversity net gain consultants and landscape architects have helped numerous clients achieve BNG over the years. Biodiversity is something that we are experienced and qualified in, and we can offer biodiversity net gain guidance on your development project. We are determined to offer you the support you need to meet the required biodiversity bracket.
Please get in touch if you like further information about net gains for biodiversity and landscape management plans. Our Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England license. If you would like to find out more about any of the services we provide, please feel free to contact us using the details below.
4 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton
01204 939 608