biodiversity net gain - cornfield annuals on green roof

The Ecology Consultancy releases Biodiversity Net Gain guidance note

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

The Environment Bill, formally introduced to Parliament in October 2019 and given its first reading on the 30th January 2020, makes it a mandatory requirement for developments in England to deliver a biodiversity net gain of at least 10% to ensure the enhancement of biodiversity and help nurture thriving natural spaces for communities.

The mandating of biodiversity net gain (BNG) follows the change from a ‘No Net Loss’ to ‘Net Gains’ within the National Planning Policy Framework, which many local planning policy documents already reflect.
Biodiversity net gain requirements will come into effect once the Environment Bill receives Royal Assent, triggering a two-year transition period.

What is biodiversity net gain?

BNG delivers measurable habitat for biodiversity net gain on a development projectimprovements for biodiversity by creating or enhancing habitats in association with development. Where a development has an impact on biodiversity it encourages developers to provide an increase in appropriate habitats over and above those being affected.

Through the implementation of BNG in all projects it is hoped that the current loss of biodiversity as a result of development will be halted and ecological networks can be restored.

BNG is not a replacement for Environmental Impact Assessment, protected species surveys and other forms of biodiversity assessment that are required for many projects. Rather, it should be used in combination with these and other approaches to provide a holistic assessment.

As with all these assessments, biodiversity net gain should be addressed in the early stages of the planning process.

What may mandatory BNG mean for your development project?

How is BNG calculated?

How should you engage with net gain in delivery of the development project?

The Ecology Consultancy (TEC) has released a guidance note to help you understand the emerging questions surrounding what is effectively the most significant change to biodiversity legislation in this country since the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.

The Ecology Consultancy's biodiversity net gain guidance note

The Ecology Consultancy can help!

We have experience of delivering net gain on projects ranging from major infrastructure schemes through to small urban developments, and in resolving significant constraints to delivery. For example…

Britvic factory extension, Rugby

Services: Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, Biodiversity Impact Assessment and ECoW

Client: Clarkebond and Buckingham Group

Objective: To establish an effective biodiversity offsetting plan to ensure net biodiversity gain post-development and achieve planning consent for the factory extension.

Based on a thorough analysis of the results of baseline surveys followed by a Biodiversity Impact Assessment, our experts contacted multiple stakeholders to propose the procurement and management of a local area of land to provide an off-site solution to offsetting. This has resulted not only in significant net gain for biodiversity, it has also been significantly more cost-effective for the client.

Read the full case study here.

‘The Nine Concepts: Making space for nature and beauty’

Berkeley Group Nine Concepts Guide

Client: Berkeley Group

Objective: To develop a set of overarching design principles in order to inform and facilitate a multi-stakeholder approach to delivering net gain for Berkeley Group’s future developments.

Based on extensive knowledge and over 20 years’ experience of facilitating net biodiversity gain through ecological consultancy, The Ecology Consultancy worked closely with Berkeley to develop a simple guide explaining the overarching concepts that have been proven to contribute to biodiversity net gain in new developments. This guide aims to inspire and empower stakeholders to adopt a holistic approach when designing and delivering biodiverse places.

Read the full case study here.

Large purpose-built student accommodation development adjacent to Warwick University

Services: Biodiversity Impact Assessment

Client: McAleer and Rushe

Objective: To ensure that the design of the proposed landscaping scheme incorporates the appropriate measures to enhance the natural environment and result in a net gain for biodiversity, in line with local planning policy requirements.

With the redevelopment of an existing car park and boundaries set to engender the loss of habitat of high ecological value, The Ecology Consultancy worked closely with both the developer and their planning team from an early stage in the process to promote and ultimately to deliver measurable net gains in biodiversity. Combining field survey data and expert judgement, consultants from TEC’s Midlands office consultants proposed a number of options to inform the evolution of the detailed designs for the site, as well as a long-term management plan so as to ensure the future of biodiversity on site.

Read the full case study here.


Seek our expert advice

Talk with your local office as soon as possible. We are able to offer expert advice that will maximise smooth and cost-effective delivering of BNG on your project.

Published 23rd March 2020

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