Expertise > Services > Biodiversity Net Gain

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What is BNG?

Biodiversity net gain’ (BNG) is an approach to development and land management, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand, by creating or enhancing habitats. Under the Environment Act 2021 developers across England will now be legally obligated to deliver BNG for most major developments. The Act stipulated a minimum of 10% increase in BNG with a few exemptions and will be in effect from November 2023. Mandatory BNG will kick-in for smaller sites April 2024 and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) from 2025.

As well as needing to meet BNG requirements detailed under the Environment Act, many of Dalcour Maclaren’s clients also have internal BNG targets and we are well placed to provide tailored support, drawing on a range of expertise and skillets from across the business.

BNG under the Environment Act 2021

Outlined below are some key components derived from this legislation:

  • A mandatory requirement for “at least 10%" BNG from every development which receives Town and Country Planning Act 1990 planning permission from November 2023, with some exemptions.
  • The BNG target can be achieved on-site, a combination of these or, as a last resort, by purchasing statutory credits.
  • This hierarchy is to be followed with delivery on-site being the preference followed by off-site (as local as possible unless a landscape advantage can be demonstrated) and finally credits – only to be bought if on-site and off-site measures are not feasible.
  • The 10% BNG must be measured using the BNG statutory metric (based on Defra’s metric version 4.0), from the pre-development biodiversity baseline of the redline boundary site
  • Schedule 14 of the Act requires applicants to submit a biodiversity plan at the planning application stage.
  • Developments being delivered using permitted development rights will not trigger the need for 10% BNG through the planning process.
  • Sites will need to be maintained in line with an agreed management plan for a period of at least 30 years. Natural England will monitor the sites to check no deterioration has occurred.
  • There will be a register of BNG sites, held by Natural England
  • Enhancements will be enforced through conservation covenants (a new type of land charge) and section 106 obligations.

Further detail on how BNG will be delivered and operate in practise are still being finalised through secondary legislation and guidance. However, this legislation is already having a large impact on developers and presents a potentially lucrative income-generating opportunity for landowners, by realising biodiversity units and matching those units with developers who need them. The value will depend on the location and the need for BNG delivery in the locality.

Environment and Planning
  • Biodiversity baseline assessments
  • Ecologival expertise and optioneering support
  • Specialist planning advice and liaising with Local Planning Authorities
  • Supporting the creation of BNG plans and all planning documents
  • Knowledge of statutory metric calculations
  • Feasibility studies including cost benefit analysis
  • Advising on strategic use of land
  • securing land agreements
  • registration of BNG units and process management
  • Purchase and sale of BNG units
  • Mapping of Local Planning LNRS areas
  • Mapping of existing & potential BNG sites
  • Creating bespoke dashboards for clients

Vicks Fishlock, Associate Director

Caroline Morris, Director

Our multi-disciplinary team of BNG experts provide quality advice that is focussed on client requirements. Here at DM we are unique in being able to offer a comprehensive, end-to-end BNG service that draws on a range of knowledge, experience and skillsets all under one roof. For an ever evolving and fast moving subject like BNG, our clients have found this brings big advantages to projects."

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