Frequently Asked Questions

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a policy approach in the UK that aims to achieve an overall increase in biodiversity through development projects.

What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity Net Gain is a policy which requires that development projects result in a net positive impact on biodiversity, generally through habitat creation or enhancement measures that compensate for any losses caused by the development.

What is the purpose of Biodiversity Net Gain?

The primary purpose of BNG is to ensure that development projects contribute to the overall conservation and enhancement of biodiversity and promote sustainable development that considers the value of ecosystems and natural resources.

How is Biodiversity Net Gain measured?

BNG is usually measured in terms of "biodiversity units," calculated using the UK's Defra biodiversity metric. This metric considers habitat type, condition, and the habitat area the development affects.

What are the requirements for Biodiversity Net Gain in the UK?

In the UK, planning authorities typically require a minimum of 10% net gain in biodiversity for new development projects. Note some LPAs seek more significant contributions and require a 20% net gain in biodiversity. This can be achieved through onsite habitat creation, enhancement, or offsite compensation measures.

How can developers achieve Biodiversity Net Gain?

Developers can achieve BNG through onsite measures (such as habitat creation, enhancement, or restoration) and offsite measures (such as investing in local biodiversity offset projects or habitat banks). This may involve working with ecologists, landscape architects, and other specialists to design and implement suitable measures.

What is the role of local planning authorities in Biodiversity Net Gain?

Local planning authorities are crucial in ensuring that BNG is delivered through the planning and development process. They are responsible for setting local policies and guidelines, assessing BNG proposals, and monitoring compliance with BNG requirements.

How does Biodiversity Net Gain contribute to the UK's biodiversity targets?

BNG contributes to the UK's biodiversity targets by ensuring that development projects have a net positive impact on biodiversity, helping to reverse habitat loss and fragmentation, and supporting the long-term conservation of ecosystems and species.

What are the benefits of Biodiversity Net Gain for developers and communities?

BNG can benefit developers by streamlining the planning process, improving public perception of projects, and enhancing the long-term value of developments. For communities, BNG can result in improved access to green spaces, enhanced ecosystem services (such as air and water quality), and increased resilience to climate change impacts.

Are there any criticisms or challenges associated with Biodiversity Net Gain?

Some criticisms of BNG include concerns about the potential for developers to prioritise offsite compensation over onsite habitat creation, the risk of "biodiversity offsetting" leading to a net loss of biodiversity in some cases, and the need for robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with BNG requirements.

What is the future of Biodiversity Net Gain in the UK?

As the UK continues developing policies and frameworks to address biodiversity loss and climate change, BNG will likely remain an essential part of the planning and development process. The ongoing refinement of guidelines, metrics, and best practices will be crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of BNG in achieving its goals.

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