Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

From Monday 12th February 2024, Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) applies to all major developments applying for new a planning permission under the Town & Country Planning Act. Major development includes residential developments with 10 or more dwellings, or where the site area is greater than 0.5 hectares. BNG will extend to minor developments, applying under the same Act, from April 2024.

By the end of 2025, BNG is expected to extend to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

Developers are required to submit a BNG Assessment and calculation using Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric. Effectively, this shows a comparison of the pre- and post- development biodiversity values.

Weddles can assist during the early stages of design to consider the most important and valuable existing habitats, and how these can be protected and retained as part of the development. As our team carry out landscape design, arboriculture, horticulture, and ecology survey work, everything relating to BNG for a given project can be carried out in-house.

All developments must prioritise fulfilling BNG onsite, which may include habitat establishment and enhancements. In some cases, habitat creation for BNG can fulfil criteria for other government schemes, such as ELMs.

Where onsite BNG fulfilment is not possible, the development will need to agree and secure off-site compensation – either on other owned land as a financial contribution to improve biodiversity, or through a habitat banking service.

Wherever the net gain is located, there is a requirement to manage the post-development habitats for at least 30 years after the development has been completed for the benefit of biodiversity.