New developments to deliver for people and nature - Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Natural England

'Biodiversity Net Gain’ to be introduced from November helping deliver the nature friendly homes of the future
New housing, commercial and infrastructure developments are set to be “nature positive” from November onwards, the government announced today (21 February), with the plans backed by £16 million of funding for Local Planning Authorities and guidance to support the new approach.

blue tit on nest box perch
(image: pixabay)

New developments will be delivered in a way which protects and enhances nature, while ensuring England gets the high quality homes it needs.

Developers in England will be required to deliver 10% “Biodiversity Net Gain” when building new housing, industrial or commercial developments so there is a positive benefit for nature.

This means they will have 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 Net Gain is a key part of the government’s commitment to halt and reverse species decline by 2030 and was introduced into legislation through the world-leading Environment Act.

Developers will be required to demonstrate how they are replacing and improving biodiversity, with “biodiversity metric trading” rules requiring that any habitat affected within the boundary is replaced on a ‘like for like’ or ‘like for better’ principle.

Biodiversity improvements on-site will be encouraged, but in circumstances where they are 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 which developers will be able to access as a last resort.

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

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Posted On: 21/02/2023

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