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From 12 February, applicants for planning permission will, in most cases, have to submit a biodiversity plan as part of their planning application. This biodiversity plan will set out how the post-development biodiversity value will exceed the pre-development biodiversity value by at least 10%. This increase in biodiversity value is known as Biodiversity Net Gain (or BNG).
The Government Guidance sets out that ‘BNG is a way of creating and improving natural habitats. BNG makes sure development has a measurably positive impact (‘net gain’) on biodiversity, compared to what was there before development.’
Not all developments will be subject to BNG from 12 February.
Those that will not include:
Whether you are a developer, landowner, or local authority, you could be affected by BNG.
Local authorities will have already put measures in place to plan for BNG, and to ensure that its delivery ties in with other policies, for example around health and well-being. They will also have considered how BNG requirements are included in local plans.
Unless their development is exempt from BNG, developers will, from 12 February, need to attach a metric tool calculation, showing the site’s biodiversity value before development, to the planning application. Information as to how the BNG requirement will be met (for example, on-site, or off-site) will also need to be provided. The Local Planning Authority must approve the biodiversity gain plan before development is started.
Owners of land which could be used to provide off-site BNG may want to consider assisting developers to meet their BNG obligations. However, careful consideration must be given to dedicating land to this, particularly given that the obligations that they would enter into would last for 30 years.
TLT has a team dedicated to BNG and has experience in advising local authorities, developers, and landowners. If you would like to discuss your requirements, please get in touch.
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at January 2024. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.
31 January 2024
Insights 11 DECEMBER 2023