Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

In November, we reported that Somerset Council was inviting comments on their Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) draft guidance. On Monday 12 February 2024, BNG became mandatory for major developments in England. From April 2024 it will apply to minor sites as well. This new measure means that wildlife habitat must be left in a better condition than prior to the development.

There are three ways developers can comply with this requirement:

  1. They can create more biodiversity on their actual development site.
  2. They can make off-site biodiversity gains on their own land (outside of the development site), or buy off-site biodiversity units on the market. Landowners can offer their land for use in this respect – ie for re-wilding paid for by the developer.
  3. A final option is to buy biodiversity credits from the government. The revenue from those being used to fund habitat creation in England. This is to be a last resort.

This is good step forward and if correctly implemented it will make a positive contribution towards nature’s recovery. If developers are able to include significant tree planting as part of BNG, then at the same time it will help address the climate emergency. The Wildlife Trusts are keen to see high standards set for its delivery.

There is more information on BNG on the government’s website. You can click on BNG webinar to watch the YouTube webinar. It explains everything in detail. (You’ll need to forward through to 35 minutes because it takes awhile to start). The Somerset Council website has information on local interpretation/requirements.

Biodiversity Net Gain