8 key factors to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain

The concept of Biodiversity Net Gain may seem overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the approach and how it applies to you. But, with a non-negotiable net gain needed to secure planning in England, 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 site's maximum value. Through our experience, 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 factors that  integrate BNG into your development plans effectively. 

8 key factors to achieve BNG

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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. 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 site's value.

4. 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.

5. Early and effective masterplanning

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

6. On-site is better!

Not only are on-site solutions best practice, they are 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.

7. Make your green and blue space work hard!

A good design should include green and blue infrastructure that delivers multiple functions.

8. Use the roof and plant urban trees

The inclusion of green/brown roofs and urban trees can help achieve net gain on-site, avoiding the need to seek a potentially complicated and expensive off-site solution.

Free webinar: How to approach Biodiversity Net Gain

Biodiversity Net Gain is now becoming mandatory on all development projects in England which means any development proposal needs to demonstrate how it will improve biodiversity and how this will be maintained for at least 30 years.

The implications for developers and land owners is huge and failing to deliver BNG could be a costly mistake. In this webinar, delivered in November 2020, Mike Barker, Director of Ecology, demonstrates how to integrate biodiversity net gain into development plans, avoid costly mistakes and effectively and legally manage a site to achieve maximum value.

Use the form below to watch our webinar now.

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Biodiversity Net Gain - How to overcome the challenges

Our Biodiversity Net Gain 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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