Biodiversity Net Gain Cornwall: 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, retaining various 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 Cornwall. Most local planning authorities are now requesting biodiversity net gain and nature recovery to determine planning applications for planning permission. BNG is already being included into the national planning policy framework (NPPF) and the wider green infrastructure network.
Biodiversity Net Gain Cornwall
In order to protect, grow and enhance the natural environment, the Cornwall Council are encouraging biodiversity net gain of 20 per cent to be maintained for a minimum of 30 years. The Environment Bill was passed this year as it received royal assent. Therefore, BNG will soon become mandatory through the forthcoming Environment Act in 2023.
Under the Environment Act 2021, a planning project must provide a biodiversity net gain increase of 10% or more. This means that the county’s planning authorities have doubled the existing biodiversity minimum for developments in the area by increasing the requirement to 20% to reach higher BNG levels. This comes as a result of a state of nature report made by the Cornwall Wildlife trust which found that nature is largely in decline in Cornwall.
If the required BNG levels are not met initially, a mitigation hierarchy should be followed until the projects reaches the required standard for local plans. This method applies to both minor developments and major developments.
Implementing Biodiversity Net Gain, Cornwall
If you are unsure of how mandatory biodiversity net gain delivery may affect your planning application, you should contact your local authorities. 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 planning requirements.
At Collington Winter, our team has strong experience completing biodiversity net gain, Cornwall, 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 planning and any required BNG reports.
Our ecologists will complete a biodiversity net gain 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. Landscape planting plans and management plans are used to inform post development measures.
Our team can also undertake protected species surveys for development sites. If these surveys indicate that a protected species may be present, mitigation measures can be put in place. These measures can range from bat and bird boxes to artificial badger setts.
Please get in touch if you would like further information about Cornwall’s approach to BNG. We are happy to offer free CPD sessions on the Biodiversity Net Gain Principles and how we can help your schemes achieve this.
Our team of ecologists and landscape architects have helped numerous clients over the years. Our clients have ranged from minor developments to major planning applications. We have assisted with matters regarding policy guidance and planning conditions for biodiversity net gain from Cornwall Council.
If you would like to find out more about the services we provide, feel free to contact us using the details below.