Biodiversity Net Gain - The lessons we've learnt so far

The concept of BNG may seem overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the approach and how it applies to you. But, with an increasing number of Local Authorities requesting it and royal assent on the horizon, you risk costly delays if you don’t factor it in to your development plans moving forward. 

We’ve been delivering BNG for some time and know how to integrate it into a project to achieve a sites maximum value. Over the years, we’ve learnt a number of lessons that have shaped our approach, how we assess it and how we deliver it for our clients.

We've summarised what we've learnt into eight key lessons to help you integrate BNG into your development plans effectively. 

Our key lessons

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1. Start early!

It’s easier and more cost-effective to protect biodiversity from the outset. A clear understanding of your site and its biodiversity will determine the correct number of habitat credits you are dealing with. 

2. Build in a margin

Things can change on site. We’ve seen many situations where a BNG calculation has changed during project delivery and suddenly you’re outside of the threshold needed to achieve net gain.

3. Design mosaics of habitats

How well do you know your habitat credits? Not all biodiversity is equal in credit terms and its important to know what has a high or low value. When designing your site, you need to match habitat for habitat but, if you can, build a mosaic of habitats and include a little bit of everything.

4. Know the value of your site

You need to know the specific details for your site. If you get your calculations wrong, your efforts will be misguided and you may not deliver the net gain required. A key concern is grassland. If you have grassland, what type is it? This could have a significant impact on your sites value.

5. Talk to adjacent landowners

Onsite delivery is best practice but sometimes this isn’t possible! If this is the case and you need to look at offsite options, speak to local landowners, they may have unproductive land that can be a cost-effective offsite solution.

6. Early and effective masterplanning

Early masterplanning allows you to design in natural green space from the beginning and get the maximum value from it.

7. Make your green space work hard!

A good design should include green infrastructure that has multiple functions.

8. Onsite is better!

Not only are onsite solutions best practice, they are also more cost-effective. Make your site work for you and get the most value from it by designing integrated green space with built in water, landscape, amenity and ecology in the same area.

Mike Barker, Director of Ecology discusses these lessons in more detail in our ‘How to approach Biodiversity Net Gain’ webinar, a must watch for anyone impacted by BNG, now or in the future.

Show me more…use the form below to view our webinar. 

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Our BNG experience has highlighted a number of issues and pitfalls that can pose a real threat to project success. To help avoid costly delays, we've put together a series of short video blogs to address some of the complexities that may arise when applying BNG on site.

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Mike Barker

Director of Ecology T: +44 (0)1480 466335 Email
Cambridge | UK

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