Biodiversity net gain in England
Biodiversity net gain in England

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Biodiversity net gain in England
  • What is biodiversity net gain?
  • Background to biodiversity net gain
  • Mandatory planning requirement for biodiversity net gain in the Environment Bill
  • Legal requirement to provide biodiversity net gain
  • Exemptions
  • Calculating 10% net gain
  • Offsite biodiversity gain
  • Implementation of requirement
  • Wider environmental net gain
  • More...

What is biodiversity net gain?

Biodiversity net gain is a principle which aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state after development than beforehand.

Current national planning policy in England, contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires:

  1. plans to be informed by a sustainability appraisal that demonstrates how the plan has addressed relevant economic, social and environmental objectives, including opportunities for net gains (para 32)

  2. plans to identify and pursue opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity (para 174b)

  3. planning policies and decisions to contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by, among other things, minimising impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity (para 170d)

  4. local planning authorities (LPAs), when determining planning applications, to encourage opportunities to incorporate biodiversity improvements in and around developments, especially where this can secure measurable net gains for biodiversity (para 154d)

Background to biodiversity net gain

The 25-year environment plan, published in January 2018, set out a commitment by the government to strengthen the existing NPPF requirements on net gain. It contained an announcement that the government would consult on whether a mandatory requirement should be introduced for development in England to deliver biodiversity net gain to ensure required development could proceed while improving the environment by more than compensating for biodiversity loss where it could not be avoided or mitigated.

In December 2018, the

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