Biodiversity Net Gain Cumbria: Understanding BNG

What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) refers to the process used by developers to consider the environmental impact that the project may have in terms of biodiversity. It aims to ensure the biodiversity of the area is left in a better state than it was prior to completion of the project. Developers can achieve biodiversity net gain by mitigating biodiversity loss, enhancing biodiversity, retaining various habitat types and protecting any assets of strategic significance.

Due to relevant national legislation, Biodiversity Net Gain is soon to become mandatory in all parts of England, including Cumbria and the Lake District. Under the Environment Act 2021, a development project must increase the biodiversity of an area by 10% or more.

Most local authorities are now requesting Biodiversity Net Gain to determine planning permission applications.

biodiversity net gain cumbria

Biodiversity Net Gain requirements

According to the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), there are ten crucial good practice principles of biodiversity net gain. These should help to achieve BNG 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 on biodiversity and the natural environment
  • 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 environmental benefits from BNG
  • 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

For case studies and a practical guide on biodiversity net gain principles, visit the CIEEM website.

In order to obtain planning permission for a development from your local planning authority, you must be able to prove that you are taking the correct measures to increase biodiversity net gain. One of the first steps in this process is to book an experienced ecologist to create and develop a biodiversity net gain plan.

Depending on the ecologist’s findings within a biodiversity net gain assessment, the BNG planning document will help to determine natural elements that could potentially be at risk as a result of the development project and any mitigation methods to prevent these outcomes from occurring.

Biodiversity Net Gain Cumbria: Is it mandatory?

There is a two-year transition period before the net gain requirement becomes law (in autumn 2023). The current national policy in England, The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Paragraph 179 states:

“To protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity, plans should:

  1. b) … identify and pursue opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity.”

Paragraph 180 states:

“When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should apply the following principles: … opportunities to improve biodiversity in and around developments should be integrated as part of their design, especially where this can secure measurable net gains for biodiversity…”

How can Collington Winter assist?

Our team of ecologists and landscape architects have helped numerous clients over the years, including policy guidance and biodiversity action plans for biodiversity net gain, Cumbria. It is important to note that BNG varies across each Local Planning Authority in the country. Biodiversity is something that we are qualified and experienced in, and we can offer advice and assistance on your development project. We are determined to offer you the support you need in order to reach the required mandatory biodiversity bracket.

Get in touch using the details below to speak to a member of our team.

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