Collington Winter Environmental

Biodiversity Net Gain Cumbria: How we can assist

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Biodiversity Net Gain Cumbria

Biodiversity Net Gain is an approach development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than it was before the development project took place. Previously, planning policy has encouraged UK construction and developments to achieve “no net loss” of biodiversity.

However, over the years, biodiversity has declined in Cumbria and the UK. The BNG initiative was launched to leave nature in a measurably better state and ensure long term positive effects on the natural environment.

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is being requested more frequently by Local planning authorities in Cumbria to inform planning applications for planning permission. Development will be halted if a planning application does not meet the BNG requirements. The aim is to show how the proposed development leaves biodiversity in a good condition and will benefit accompanying ecological features in a measurable way.

Is biodiversity net gain mandatory?

Following the passing of the Environment Bill, mandatory biodiversity gain for developments in England will be introduced through the forthcoming Environment Act in 2023. There will be a two year transition period however enhancing biodiversity is required for national planning policy framework. As well as detailing the developments impact on biodiversity, developers must also use mitigation techniques if the development does not meet required standards.

Numerous Local Planning Authorities have been requesting BNG assessments for numerous years. Many have introduced or are currently amending local developers plans to ensure it is mandatory as a part of Local Policy.

Calculating biodiverity net gain

Comparisons can be made between the existing value of a site and what will be delivered through development or management and post development. This may include an increase in natural habitats and ecological features through retention and enhancement and/or creation, which goes over and above the environmental habitat originally on site.

BNG can 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

The government website also provides a biodiversity metric 4.0 calculation tool, which can help to determine your biodiversity unit score that translates into the standards of local authorities.

How can we assist with achieving BNG?

Our biodiversity consultants have helped numerous clients over the years, including policy guidance for biodiversity gain in Cumbria and the lake district. Achieving net gain requirements for biodiversity through development is something that we are experienced and qualified in. We can offer advice on planning projects and landscape management plan requirements.

Please get in touch if you would like further information about biodiversity net gain, Cumbria, 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.

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