Biodiversity net gain
By James Ellis | 31.10.23
The new 10% biodiversity net gain requirement comes into effect from January. If applying to diversify or develop in 2024, now is the time to plan.
Biodiversity net gain (BNG) will be a familiar concept to those concerned with land-use management and change, diversification, and development. Rural Solutions has been carefully monitoring and leading the dialogue on this in rural areas, while demonstrating net gains in many of our planning applications for some time.
"Whether seeking an on- or off-site solution, we can help you work out the best approach for your site."
The proposed changes to the planning system to ensure that all new development includes a 10% biodiversity net gain has been the subject of significant focus over recent years. Whilst the policy is an exciting response to the startling decline of biodiversity in the UK, an absence of clarity has led to much speculation and may have led to some people taking a ‘what will be, will be’ approach.
The requirement for a 10% BNG had been timetabled for introduction in November 2023, however, the government has delayed this until next year. BNG requirements will now be introduced from January 2024 for major developments, sites of ten or more houses, non-residential floorspace sites of up to 1,000m2, and applications for sites over one hectare in size. Requirements for smaller sites will come into force from April 2024.
Consider your options
Anyone thinking of applying to diversify or develop a site in the next year, should consider the implications now. While some local authorities already have a local policy that requires BNG to be acted on now, for most planning applications, it will only be required for those submitted after the implementation date.
Whether seeking an on- or off-site solution, we can help you work out the best approach for your site.
If the aspiration is for BNG to be provided on-site this will require careful planning, and working closely with your ecologist and landscape architect to ensure that the correct habitats and planting are included to meet the 10% requirement.
If BNG is to be provided off-site it will be via a statutory credit purchased from the government or from a private credit provider. Statutory credits start at £42,000 (per credit) and are priced highly to encourage more cost-effective private solutions to be sought.
Rural Solutions recently held an online forum with landowners, developers, ecologists, legal and tax experts, and other specialists, focusing on BNG requirements and the opportunities that providing these credits could deliver for long-term landowners.
Working in rural areas where many of our proposals, such as new country houses, include significant areas of habitat creation, we have often calculated the net gain that arises, in some cases with many hundreds of percentages of net gains realised.
Get in touch
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about BNG and how it might impact your diversification or development proposals or if you are a long-term landowner interested in becoming a BNG credit provider.