Biodiversity Net Gain Credits

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We are just one month away from mandatory Civity requirements coming into force in England, with the requirement for developers to offset biodiversity loss and deliver a minimum of 10% BNG. The requirement will apply to all development sites – with exemptions and protections for ‘irreplaceable’ habitats – and will be based on the new statutory biodiversity metric from Natural England (Biodiversity Metric 4.0).

Measuring Environmental Impact: Evaluating Biodiversity Net Gain Credits

The cost of delivering BNG on site is likely to be expensive. It is therefore advisable for developers to consider BNG early in the planning process, and to ask vendors to include net gain clauses in land sales contracts. It’s also possible for developers to utilise the local offsite biodiversity credit market, whereby they can purchase BNG credits from the government in cases where it is not feasible to meet the onsite requirement.

In addition, incorporating biodiversity into developments from the start of design can help to keep costs down, especially where degraded ecosystems like intensively-grazed pasture are involved, and can result in reduced BNG requirements. The use of conservation covenants is also an option that can be considered, and this is specifically referred to in the net gain clauses within the Environment Act. This is where partnering with an ecological consultancy is very helpful, as they will be able to carry out an initial survey of your site and identify the best areas for habitat creation or restoration (onsite and local offsite) to hit those BNG targets!