The concept of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) aims to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecological habitat value and networks.
The Environment Bill received Royal Assent on 9 November 2021. By amending the Town & Country Planning Act the Environment Bill requires all planning applications to show a post-development biodiversity net gain. By enshrining environmental principles into law, the Environment Act includes a requirement to meet a mandatory measurable (10%) increase in ecological value over baseline values on a completed development site.
An ecological value of a site is calculated both pre-development and post-development via ecological surveys and design proposals. Scores for both pre-and post-development are calculated via a formula in a recognised metric, such as that devised by DEFRA.
A mandatory 10% increase in post-development ecological value can be met, by designing the increase into post-development habitats, be it on-site or off, or a mixture of both. Alternatively, payments may be made to local authorities to offset any losses when it is not feasible for development to meet the 10% target for increase.
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