Biodiversity Net Gain Birmingham: Understanding BNG

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) refers to the process used by developers and local planning authorities to consider the long term effects that a project may have in terms of biodiversity. It aims to leave the natural environment in an area in a better state than it was prior to completion of the project. Developers can achieve biodiversity net gain by mitigating biodiversity loss, using habitat creation techniques, retaining various species and habitat types and protecting ecological features.

Due to relevant national legislation, biodiversity net gain is soon to become mandatory in all parts of England, including Birmingham, in 2024. Most local planning authorities are now requesting biodiversity net gain and nature recovery to determine planning applications for planning permission.

biodiversity net gain cambridge

Biodiversity Net Gain Birmingham

In order to protect, grow and enhance the natural environment, the Birmingham City Council are encouraging a minimum biodiversity net gain of at least 10% for all projects.

The Environment Bill was passed as it received royal assent. Therefore, BNG will soon become a planning policy in England and will be a mandatory requirement for all developments proposed after April 2024.

Under the Environment Act 2021, a planning project must provide a biodiversity net gain increase for at least 30 years. If the required BNG levels are not met initially, a mitigation hierarchy should be followed until the project reaches the required standard. Biodiversity net gain is especially significant for historical sites and sites of special scientific interest.

Biodiversity net gain principles

There are ten crucial good practice principles of biodiversity net gain. These should help to achieve a net gain in biodiversity 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 of development 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 the natural environment 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

Implementing biodiversity net gain, Birmingham

If you are unsure of how mandatory biodiversity net gain delivery may affect your planning application, you should contact your local planning authority. If they indicate that your development could be significantly impacted, we recommend that you contact an experienced ecologist as soon as possible.

They can discuss whether your development plans meet the required standards as well as any measures you may need to take in order to meet development planning requirements.

At Collington Winter, our team has strong experience maintaining and enhancing biodiversity in Birmingham and will provide guidance throughout the planning process. We can ensure that one of our experienced biodiversity ecologists visits your development site to assist with any biodiversity net gain reports and a biodiversity action plan.

Our ecologists will complete a habitat classification assessment, and the data is entered into biodiversity units to measure changes to the natural environment, pre and post development. This metric is currently Defra Biodiversity Metric 4.0. This data can then be used for biodiversity management and monitoring on the site.

How can Collington Winter assist?

Please get in touch if you would like further information about Birmingham’s approach to BNG. Our team of ecological consultants 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 from Birmingham City Council.

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

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