Habitat Banks: What you need to know

Habitat banks were introduced following the introduction of the Environment Bill in 2021, in relation to Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). The Environment Act will be legally mandated in November 2023, but many local planning authorities have already begin using the act to set certain planning conditions for developers to meet. The ultimate aim of the new regulations is to maintain and restore local habitats, ecosystems and environments.

Biodiversity net gain is a practice that focuses on the environmental impact of development and construction projects, and ultimately ensures that developers leave the local environment in a better condition than it was prior to development.

To calculate such an uplift, the value of land in terms of biodiversity is measured un 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.

Developers can implement BNG on the site of their development (which is then required to be maintained for at least 30 years), or developers can mitigate and implement BNG off-site to accommodate the amount of credits they need. Habitat banks were therefore created for such a need to accommodate BNG off-site. One method of creating a habitat bank is in partnership with Environment Bank. Our Ecologists can talk you through all of the available options and assist in creating a management plan.

Habitat banking offers a way for developers to create conservation credits that can be acquired by other developers who must fulfill certain requirements related to legislation and Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). Through this process, developers can secure long-term revenue while also protecting the environment for the future.

How do you create a habitat bank?

Environment or habitat banks are established on areas of land that can benefit from restoration efforts to enhance biodiversity. Typically, these habitat banks range in size from 10 to 100 hectares, although there is no upper limit. It’s not uncommon for a habitat bank to encompass several small land parcels within a single site instead of one large plot.

Our team of ecologists can collaborate with clients to determine the most suitable type of habitat bank and land, taking into account the location and local ecosystems. Our ecologists specialise in creating a range of habitats, such as rich woodland, wetlands, and grasslands.

The selected lands for habitat banks are ideal as they are usually low-yielding and can significantly benefit from restoration efforts to improve biodiversity

How can Collington Winter assist?

At Collington Winter, our ecologists have the knowledge and experience necessary to assist developers in habitat creation and habitat bank requirements. Our team can assess your development site to determine which habitat banking methods would be suitable.

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.


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