Biodiversity Net Gain 2024 – New Rules Guidance
In 2024, Biodiversity net gain (BNG) stands at the forefront of environmental conservation and sustainable development initiatives in the United Kingdom. Biodiversity net gain in the UK is an innovative strategy that requires developers to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than before their projects commenced.
Biodiversity net gain is soon to become mandatory as a result of the Environment Act 2021. Therefore, all development proposals will have to comply with the principles of BNG and meet its requirements. Developers will also have to guarantee that BNG is maintained for at least 30 years.
In January 2024, the UK government published further guidance regarding BNG before its implementation. It has also been confirmed that BNG will go live on 12 February 2024.
What types of development will BNG apply to?
From 12 February 2024, BNG will be mandatory for new planning applications for major development made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Major developments include residential developments with 10 or more dwellings or if the site area is greater than 0.5 hectares.
Biodiversity net gain will be made mandatory for small sites from April 2024. Small sites include residential developments where the number of dwellings is between 1 or 9 or if the site area is less than 0.5 hectares. Small sites also include commercial developments where floor space created is less than 1000 square metres or the overall site area is less than 1 hectare.
Updates to BNG related legislation
In November, a draft of the secondary legislation package was released to assist stakeholders in readiness for mandatory BNG. Subsequently, a few minor adjustments were made to the legislation’s wording. Notably, there has been significant attention to the de-minimis exemption and the biodiversity gain hierarchy. In response to discussions with stakeholders, clarifications and modifications have been introduced.
If you are unsure of how mandatory biodiversity net gain may affect your planning application, you should contact your local planning authorities immediately. They can discuss your development plans in detail and whether they align with BNG.
If they indicate that your development could be significantly impacted, we recommend that you contact an experienced ecologist as soon as possible. Our ecologists can discuss whether your development plans meet the required standards. They can also recommend any measures you may need to take in order to meet the biodiversity standards.
At Collington Winter, our team has strong experience completing BNG and will provide guidance throughout the planning process. We can ensure that one of our experienced biodiversity ecologists visits your development site to create and develop any required BNG reports using biodiversity metrics. Our team can also assist with habitat enhancements by using a Natural England habitat management and monitoring plan template.
How can Collington Winter assist?
We can assist with biodiversity net gain by providing:
Please get in touch if you would like further information about further biodiversity net gain 2024 guidance. We are happy to offer free CPD sessions on the BNG principles and how we can help your schemes achieve this.
Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England license. If you would like to find out more about the services we provide, feel free to contact us using the details below.