On Wednesday 27th September, the government announced that it will delay mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) rules set to come into effect in November 2023.

What biodiversity net gain is

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is a way to contribute to the recovery of nature while developing land. It is making sure the habitat for wildlife is in a better state than it was before development.

Under the updated timetable, developers in England will be required to deliver 10% BNG from January 2024 onwards when building new housing, industrial or commercial developments meaning by law they must deliver a net positive for the local environment, in other words, leaving the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was prior. Additional guidance is set be published by the end of November.

What does this delay mean for developers?

It is disappointing that the timeline is slipping by a few months as there is a need to reverse the loss of ecological value in the country. The news, however, should not materially alter the approach taken by developers who should have already integrated the BNG requirements into their emerging schemes to try and retain mature vegetation where possible and include new planting areas in order to minimise the loss and if possible negate the need to provide off-site contributions.

In order for developers to be ready for these changes they should understand how their schemes deliver against the 10% biodiversity net gain requirement, and if contributions are required, the options for how this can be delivered. Some Councils are able to accept the contributions towards their own biodiversity areas, but others are reliant on land-banks. Understanding the process within a specific authority will allow a steer on likely costs to be established.

Getting expert support and advice

Our Planning and Development Advisory Team works nationally and has substantial experience in promoting land and securing planning consent for large-scale developments and is equipped to advise developers on how best to provide BNG.

To find out how we may be able to add value to your property, please contact the Planning and Development team on planning@argroup.co.uk

You can also visit the .gov website for more information about BNG.