Collington Winter Environmental

Biodiversity Net Gain Reading: How we can assist

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Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a planning approach in which developers assess a project’s environmental impact on biodiversity. The goal is to ensure that the state of biodiversity improves after project completion for a minimum of 30 years. This is achieved by preventing biodiversity loss and creating or enhancing natural habitats and ecological features.

The demand for Biodiversity Net Gain in planning applications is increasing, with a focus on demonstrating how a proposed development will positively impact biodiversity in a measurable way.

The Environment Bill has paved the way for mandatory biodiversity gain in developments within Reading, to be enforced through the upcoming Environment Act in January 2024. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the suspension of development. Additionally, BNG is already a prerequisite outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Due to national legislation, Reading is on track to make the biodiversity net gain planning system mandatory. The government now requires biodiversity net gain and nature recovery as integral considerations in evaluating planning applications for permission. These requirements are especially significant for Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

Biodiversity net gain principles

There are ten crucial good practice principles of biodiversity net gain. These should help to achieve BNG if they are followed accordingly. The mandatory biodiversity net gain principles include the following:

  • Utilise the mitigation hierarchy to minimise the impact on biodiversity
  • Eliminate any negative impacts on biodiversity
  • Communicate each BNG outcome with complete transparency
  • Cover all areas of sustainability, including societal and economic factors
  • Involve any pre-development and post-development stakeholders in creating mandatory net gain solutions
  • Focus on producing long-term natural net benefit for biodiversity. This will ensure a development leaves biodiversity in a better state than it was before
  • Understand the variable factors and potential risks in order to achieve biodiversity and deliver net gain
  • Offer nature conservation that exceeds the stated BNG requirements
  • Determine a suitable method in order to secure measurable biodiversity net gains
  • Ensure the best possible results from biodiversity net gain

Biodiversity Net Gain Metric

The biodiversity metric serves as a tool to gauge how a development or alteration in land management will impact the biodiversity value of a site. This includes activities like constructing houses, establishing woodlands, or cultivating wildflower meadows.

This metric enables you to:

  • Evaluate the biodiversity unit worth of a specific land area.
  • Provide a consistent means of showcasing biodiversity gains or losses.
  • Quantify and acknowledge direct effects on biodiversity.
  • Compare different proposals for a development site, whether they involve on-site or off-site habitat creation or enhancement.

It aids in the process of designing, planning, and making informed land management decisions that prioritise biodiversity. The metric computes values in terms of ‘biodiversity units’, which are determined by considering factors like habitat size, quality, and location.

Our team of ecologists and landscape architects have helped numerous clients over the years. Our clients have ranged from minor developments to major applications. We have assisted with matters regarding policy guidance for biodiversity net gain in Reading.

If you would like to find out more about the services we provide, feel free to contact us using the details below.

Biodiversity Credits

Most local planning authorities in Reading will want developers to ensure that BNG is achieved on-site. In some circumstances, this cannot be achieved, and it is simply not possible. However, this does not mean that the local planning authorities will automatically refuse a planning application.

Instead, the local planning authority may grant planning consent if developers are able to deliver sufficient biodiversity net gain using off-site biodiversity habitat enhancement.

Developers may be given the option of purchasing statutory biodiversity credits through funding schemes and biodiversity gain sites that will generate the equivalent number of units in other areas.

The biodiversity net gain credits purchased will then be invested into habitat creation and enhancement.

Natural England is currently supporting the design of the credits scheme by developing payment structures and a BNG credit investment pipeline to fund habitat provision.

How can we assist with biodiversity net gain in Reading?

Our ecologists are experts in BNG planning and have helped numerous clients over the years. It is important to note that this varies across local planning authorities in the country. Completing net gain for biodiversity through development is something that we are qualified and experienced in.

We assist all types of developers in achieving BNG to ensure planning permission is granted in Reading.

We are determined to offer you the support you need in order to reach the required mandatory biodiversity bracket. If you would like to find out more about biodiversity net gain, Reading, feel free to contact us using the details below.

We can assist with biodiversity net gain by providing: 

Please get in touch if you would like further information about BNG. We can also develop habitat management plans. We are happy to offer free CPD sessions on the BNG principles and how we can help your schemes achieve this.

Registered Office

23 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton

BL1 2BQ

Phone

01204 939 608

Email

info@collingtonwinter.co.uk

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