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.
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.
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.
With the Environment Act coming into force, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is now mandatory on all projects in England. Hannah Knight, Principal Ecologist looks at the challenges of securing BNG on logistics sites, and why early engagement is essential.
Our planet’s natural carbon cycles are designed to be in balance thanks to ecosystems such as forests, oceans, and soils sequestering carbon. But throw human-induced CO2 emissions into the mix and the balance has skewed - nature has been drastically overwhelmed.
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