Collington Winter Environmental
Habitat Banks: What are they and how can we help?
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What are Habitat Banks?
The concept of habitat banks was created following the Environment Bill which came into force in 2021, the act which also introduced the notion of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). The Environment Act will be legally mandated towards the end of 2023 and it outlines the steps which developers and project managers must take regarding the impact of their work towards local habitats and environments.
The Environment Act states that developers must take all of the necessary steps to minimise their biodiversity loss, ultimately placing focus on the environmental impact the development could have and ensuring that the land being developed is left in a better way for the environment than it was prior.
Taking note of the new legislation, local authorities and planning authorities now typically require development projects and new infrastructure to deliver and offset a minimum uplift of 10% in BNG in order to grant planning permission for the project.
To calculate such an uplift, the value of land in terms of biodiversity is measured in biodiversity units. The number of units is then increased by a minimum of ten percent to calculate the uplift and that value is the number that will be needed to be delivered in order to obtain planning permission.
BNG can be implemented on the site of the development and is then to be maintained for 30 years, but if it cannot be accommodated on-site then BNG can be implemented off-site in full or partially to make up the required amount.
The notion of habitat banks has been created specifically to accommodate the demand in delivery BNG, particularly for those who cannot complete the required amount in full on the site of their development.
Developers can use habitat banking to generate conservation credits which can then be purchased by other developers who need to buy a certain amount in order to comply with legislation and comply with BNG requirements. This both provides long-term income for the developers as well as long-term safeguarding of the environment.
How to create a Habitat Bank
Habitat/environment banks are created on areas of land that would benefit from some rejuvenation and ultimately improve biodiversity. Habitat creations are commonly around 10 to 100 hectares in size, though there is no maximum size of a habitat bank. It is common however for a habitat bank to incorporate a number of small areas of land across one site as opposed to one larger piece of land.
Our team of ecologists can work with clients to discuss the best type of habitat bank to be created on which type of land, depending on its location and local ecosystems. An example of some of the types of habitats our ecologists assist in creating include rich woodland, wetlands and rich grasslands.
The lands chosen for habitat banks are ideal as they are already low yielding and benefit significantly from the development to improve biodiversity.
How can we help?
Our team of Ecologists and Biodiversity Net Gain experts are well equipped and experienced to assist on a range of projects surrounding gaining the relevant planning permission for developments.
Our BNG specialists have assisted many clients over the years and as such know the legislation well, enabling us to offer the most appropriate advice on planning projects and landscape management plan requirements.
We can also offer a range of other services regarding Biodiversity Net Gain, including BNG assessments and guidance, site condition assessments and BNG mitigation.
If you would like to discuss Biodiversity Net Gain in more detail and find out more about how our team of experts can help you then please get in touch with us today to find out more. You can contact us on 01204 939 608 or email@example.com. We will be happy to discuss any query you have regarding BNG and advise you on how we can best assist you.
4 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton
01204 939 608