BIODIVERSITY NET GAIN – DELAY OR DELIVER
Following previous uncertainty (see Biodiversity Gain – Delay or Deliver?) over the implementation of biodiversity net gain requirements, DEFRA on 29/30 November published a range of new draft regulations. These include guidance and tools to support implementation of statutory requirements for biodiversity net gain through planning.
What this means to projects and landowners in England is:
- PROGRAMME: Government is on track to implement biodiversity gain through planning. The timetable is:
- January 2024 – Town & Country Planning Act developments (most applications)
- April 2024 for small sites (developments meeting specific criteria including those relating to size and protected status – sites or species)
- TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS: the relevant draft regulation provides information for planning applications that are in progress. In summary Government’s intention is that net gain regulations don’t apply where the application is:
- submitted before the commencement of the regulations (sometime in January 2024);
- or where the original planning permission was granted before the commencement of the regulations (sometime in January 2024).
- IMPLICATIONS: while the legislation is still in draft and may change applicants are likely to need to:
- Ensure that previous biodiversity gain conditions attached to an Application Site will continue to be met
- Confirm and map onsite irreplaceable habitats, which will be a principal decision-making matter
- Submit a completed [statutory] biodiversity metric calculation tool
- Submit a Biodiversity Gain Plan
- Submit a Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan
As a reminder Biodiversity Net Gain (in planning) will require a ≥10% (with some local variation) change from a pre-development position to a future net gain position. This change needs the draft regulations to be enacted to implement it. It only comes into force at the commencement dates within those regulations.
If you are looking to either deliver on development goals by easing planning process, or you want to respond to shareholder interests or to deliver on societal need lets still talk about building Biodiversity Net Gain into projects and the role it has in delivering a sustainable future for us all.
Temple can provide a range of Biodiversity Net Gain services. Our team of environmental and sustainability specialists includes nationally recognised experts in climate and carbon, social value and stakeholder engagement, biodiversity and planning. The Temple team expertise means that we can support on a wide range of projects t make sure we deliver tangible benefits for communities and biodiversity, alongside wider ecosystem benefits.