Collington Winter Environmental
Biodiversity Net Gain Kent: How we can assist
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Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is already well-known in legislation across the UKs local planning authorities. However, BNG it is set to become a mandatory part of all development and planning applications at the end of 2023.
BNG refers to the process in which a project or development site has to consider its impact on the surrounding irreplaceable habitats and environment. This mean that developers must adapt their planning processes, both for major applications and minor developments, to ensure no damage is done to any local ecosystems.
A biodiversity net gain plan ultimately aims to leave the natural environment around a development in a better condition that it was prior to the development. This could be achieved through enhancing local habitats surrounding and within the development.
Local county planning authorities are frequently asking developers to trial biodiversity and meet the requirements for BNG in order to obtain planning permission, before it becomes mandatory. This is in hope the developers will demonstrate how the project will benefit the environment around them. BNG essentially acts as a planning condition as well as a policy requirement for planning consent. As such, complying with Kent’s planning authorities for biodiversity net gain is a significant factor in whether planning permission is granted or denied.
Is biodiversity net gain mandatory?
Following the Environment Act 2021, local authorities must require all permissions they grant to achieve at least 10% biodiversity. A provision for secondary legislation has been put into place from the act, which will set a date in which the mandate will come into force. The mandate is predicted to come into force in late 2023. The 2021 act gives a two-year transition period for authorities to get their policies and processes in place before it becomes mandatory.
As well as detailing the developments impact on biodiversity, developers must also use mitigation techniques if the development does not meet required standards to cover their biodiversity loss. This includes biodiversity offsetting scheme to ensure BNG targets are maintained for the long term.
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.
Biodiversity net gain increase can be calculated through the DEFRA biodiversity metric 3.1, 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 kilometers or hectares
- The condition of any habitat parcels
The government website also provides a biodiversity metric 3.1 calculation tool. This can help to determine your biodiversity unit score that translates into the standards of the county wide Kent authority.
How can we assist with achieving BNG?
Our Kent ecology unit has helped numerous clients over the years, including issuing policy guidance for biodiversity gain in the Kent County Council area. Achieving net gain for biodiversity through development is something that we are qualified and experienced in. Plus, we can offer advice on planning projects and nature recovery.
For more information surrounding biodiversity net gain in Kent, you can find out more by visiting the Kent Nature Partnership and Natural England websites.
At Collington Winter, our team of ecologists are experts in the field of biodiversity net gain and can keep you up to date with new and changing legislation. As regulations can vary across local authorities it is important to instruct a qualified ecologist to ensure you are following the correct rules.
Please get in touch if you would like further information about Biodiversity Net Gain, Kent, or biodiversity net gain plans. We are happy to offer free CPD sessions on the Biodiversity Net Gain Principles and how we can help your schemes achieve this.
4 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton
01204 939 608