The UK Government has announced plans to make new housing, commercial, and infrastructure developments “nature positive” through legislation in November.
The rules, called “Biodiversity Net Gain” (BNG), requires developers to deliver 10% BNG from January 2024 on new projects. BNG means that developers must deliver a net positive for local environments by creating new habitats and green spaces. The implementation for small sites will start from April 2024, and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects from 2025.
BNG was introduced through the Environment Act to help the country meet its target to stop species abundance decline by 2030 while creating beautiful communities and new homes. The UK Government has committed over £15 million to Local Planning Authorities to help prepare for the implementation of BNG. Housing developers are also investing in BNG for their projects.
By the end of November, the government will publish all guidance and the regulations including:
- the statutory biodiversity metric, critical for calculating the correct biodiversity gain
- the draft biodiversity gain plan template, which will help developers prepare for what they will need to complete during the planning application stages
- the Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan template, which will set out how the improved significant on-site and off-site habitats will be managed for the long term
- a package of Biodiversity Net Gain guidance that sets out further advice for landowners, developers, and Local Planning Authorities around their role and responsibilities in delivering mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain
These materials will ensure that developers and planning authorities have access to the necessary tools and information to effectively implement Biodiversity Net Gain in January 2024, ensuring they deliver the homes that the country needs while benefitting nature and local environments.