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  • by Karma Loveday

Housing developers must deliver 10% gains in biodiversity

From November, developers in England will be required to deliver 10% Biodiversity Net Gain when creating new housing, industrial or commercial developments, under plans confirmed last week by Natural England, Defra and DLUHC.

Builders will need to assess the type of habitat affected and its condition before submitting plans to the local planning authority detailing how they will deliver a 10% benefit for nature. Biodiversity improvements on-site will be encouraged, but where this is not possible, developers will be able to pay for improvements on other sites elsewhere by purchasing “units” via a private, off-site market. A government-run statutory credit scheme is being set up.

The government last week confirmed further details including:

  • £16m in public funding will be allocated to Local Planning Authorities to enable them to expand resource and improve skills;

  • there will be a phased introduction for Biodiversity Net Gain, with small sites having until April 2024 to comply with the regulations;

  • published guidance for land managers who wish to sell to the Biodiversity Net Gain market provides information on combining environmental payments with Biodiversity Net Gain, including nutrient mitigation credits, grant payments or selling to other voluntary markets such as carbon markets;

  • draft legislation is due to be published later in 2023, with further stakeholder engagement taking place on implementation before Biodiversity Net Gain becomes mandatory in November; and

  • details of the statutory credit scheme were made available. This was “a last resort option for Biodiversity Net Gain delivery, which will be set up to prevent delays in the planning system. In order to buy credits, developers will have to demonstrate they cannot deliver habitat onsite, or via the off-site market. The proceeds will be invested in habitat creation.”


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