Biodiversity net gain rules for new developments delayed

The government has postponed the planned introduction of biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirement for new building projects.

Introduced in the Environment Act 2021, the BNG rule was due to come into effect in November 2023.

It required new housing, commercial and infrastructure developments to be 'nature positive'. This obliged developers in England to deliver 10% BNG, for example by creating new habitats and green spaces.

However, the government has delayed the introduction of the requirement to January 2024 for new housing, industrial or commercial developments. For small sites, it will be applicable from April 2024, and implementation for nationally significant infrastructure projects is planned for 2025.

A report by conservation groups has said that one in six species in Great Britain are at risk of extinction.

The government said that by the end of November it will publish all guidance and the regulations, including:

  • the statutory biodiversity metric, critical for calculating the correct biodiversity gain;
  • the draft biodiversity gain plan template, which will help developers prepare for what they will need to complete during the planning application stages;
  • the Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan template, which will set out how the improved significant onsite and offsite habitats will be managed for the long term;
  • a package of biodiversity net gain guidance that sets out further advice for landowners, developers, and Local Planning Authorities around their role and responsibilities in delivering mandatory BNG.

Trudy Harrison, Biodiversity Minister, said: "Biodiversity net gain will ensure new developments work for both wildlife and people. We will create nature-rich places whilst ensuring communities get the new homes and infrastructure they need.

"The updated timetable and guidance we are setting out today will help smooth the transition ahead of the biodiversity net gain going fully live in January 2024."

This article first appeared on Construction Manager

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