Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) legislation has been delayed and will not launch as planned in November.
Biodiversity Net Gain is an initiative designed to ensure that new developments leave the environment in a demonstrably better condition than before. Not only does this support wildlife but it has significant other benefits including providing cleaner and greener areas to live and work, improved flood protection plus a positive impact on the effects of climate change.
Samantha Hursey, Operations Director and Ecologist at leading open space management company, Meadfleet Ltd, comments:
“Like many others across the industry, we’ve been preparing for the new legislation for some time now and have been working with developers to help them find the right solutions. We are pleased that it appears the delay to BNG implementation is only short-term with an expectation that it will now come into effect in January 2024. This will provide more time for the Government to publish the further guidance, regulations and materials required which they have confirmed will be released by the end of November.”
Whilst BNG will not be mandated by law until January, it does already form part of the Environment Act 2021 and local authorities across the country have already incorporated it into their local plans. Meadfleet are involved in several examples where this is the case and have heard from developers who’ve had varying experiences of BNG to date, including some authorities who have requested more than the 10% net gain outlined in the legislation.
The delays to mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain provide some additional time for all parties to digest the detailed guidance once released in November and then prepare for the January launch.
The State of Nature 2023 report was published on the same day as the delays to BNG were announced. It outlines the need for greater protection of wildlife, highlighting a significant ongoing decline across a range of species. The report blames this decline mostly on human related activities such as habitat loss, demonstrating further the need to implement measures as soon as possible to halt and reverse this trend.
Meadfleet recommend housebuilders keep implementing additional improvements for biodiversity over and above current requirements, introducing the principles of the legislation on upcoming schemes and demonstrating their commitment to sustainable development. Not only will this underpin their organisation’s environmental credentials, it will also help ready them and their teams for the mandatory change.
Meadfleet make the following recommendations to housebuilders in preparation for Biodiversity Net Gain:
- Once the further detail is released in November, developers should review this in full to aid them with implementation
- Prepare and upskill colleagues, make sure they are aware of the changes and how it will affect the development process, there are a range of BNG training courses and webinars available
- Identify and explore the solutions available for BNG and its ongoing management, both on and offsite
- Find out the approach of the local authorities you operate in. Local plans may already mention BNG and require a % gain, this could also be above 10%.
The Meadfleet open space management team continue to keep up to date with the latest training and advice available on Biodiversity Net Gain. Their ecology-led approach means they are already managing open spaces for biodiversity, identifying, and implementing improvements. Meadfleet remain committed to educating and engaging residents and wider communities in the benefits of biodiverse habitats to build support for ecological features in their neighbourhoods.
Once the further detail is available in November, Meadfleet will review this carefully and provide updates to their developer partners particularly in relation to open space management and onsite and offsite solutions.
The Meadfleet team welcome discussions with developers to explore the long-term management options for BNG. To get in touch, call 01438 890780 or email email@example.com.