New Biodiversity Net Gain strategy update comes into law

16 April 2024 by Acre
blog author

​The Biodiversity Net Gain scheme has updated its requirements from April 2 which now affects smaller dwellings for the first time.

Now small-scale developments in England will be legally required to deliver a 10 per cent Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) on housing, industrial and commercial projects to protect nature and habitats from the impacts of construction.

This will affect developments with one to nine dwellings (or the site areas less than 0.5 hectares) and will apply to more than 29,000 planning applications a month.

Where the 10 per cent nature improvement is unavoidable, developers must offset the shortfall through either funding offsite nature projects or by purchasing new biodiversity credits.

Drew Davy, senior sustainability insights manager at Grosvenor Property UK – which has been voluntarily delivering BNG since 2022 – said: "While not perfect, the regulations are among the world's most ambitious and signal an important step forward in how we value nature in real estate.

"It's crucial that all developments and construction projects – regardless of their size – place biodiversity at their heart. Be it to help reduce urban heat island effects or mitigate flood risk, increasing biodiversity is a core component of climate resilience.

"The real estate industry must now embrace regulatory change to improve wildlife corridors between assets, decelerate biodiversity loss and improve our climate resilience as a result." 

Future Homes Hub and the Planning Advisory Service have launched a free digital resource offering Local Planning Authorities and planning applicants practical guidance and advice on complying with BNG.

Click here to read our previous article on the Biodiversity Net Gain initiative with commentary from Ben Flint, Sector Director - UK Real Estate at Acre.