Biodiversity Net Gain

Sustainable development sits high on the political agenda which makes improving biodiversity a key driver for developers, land owners and local planning authorities alike. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is an approach used to improve a sites biodiversity value. Once applied, on completion, a site will have a positive ecological impact, delivering improvements through habitat creation or enhancement after avoiding or mitigating harm.

What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) sits within the Environment Bill which is on track to gain royal assent later this year. 

Once in force, the bill will require all development schemes to deliver a mandatory 10% biodiversity net gain to be maintained for a period of at least 30 years. The concept seeks measurable improvements for biodiversity by creating or enhancing habitats in association with development. Development proposals must “leave biodiversity in a better state than before”.

But even in advance of the Act, BNG is being required now by Local Planning Authorities that have the appropriate policy framework in place.

What does BNG mean for developers and land owners?

BNG means, moving forward, developers and land owners will have to ensure their projects deliver biodiversity improvements to meet the required 10% increase.

They are already being asked to determine and evidence a project’s final BNG value using the specified Defra biodiversity metric if they want their plans to move through the planning process swiftly.

Many local planning authorities are already requesting that plans allow for these requirements and, as a result, it is recommended that developers consider how their current projects may be affected by these proposals to prevent costly delays down the line. 


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How can BNG be delivered

To achieve biodiversity net gain, proposals must follow the ‘mitigation hierarchy’ which compels planning applicants to avoid harm in the first instance, then mitigate or finally compensate for losses on-site, off-site or through a combination of the two solutions. These measures will be required in planning conditions.




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Making complex easy - How to tackle the common BNG pitfalls

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.

Watch our next vlog 'Habitat credits - When offsite is the only solution' here 

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Free CPD webinars to get you ready

BNG is a complex matter and, at first glance, can seem daunting. To help get you and your team ready ahead of its official mandate later this year, we can provide an informative CPD webinar covering everything you and your team need to know about BNG and its mechanisms for delivery. 

To find out more about our online webinar, get in touch using the form below.

Listen up...

Mike Barker, Director of Ecology was invited to join Bidwells’ Head of Rural Investment,  Roland Bull to discuss how developers can prepare themselves for BNG when it comes into force later this year. Listen in and find out more... 


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How can we help you apply BNG to your project?

We are committed to helping our clients achieve the required biodiversity net gains on their developments. Achieving BNG can seem challenging but our team have extensive experience using the DEFRA metric to quantify biodiversity change and we are on hand to take the complexity out of the process.  

We also deliver free, virtual CPD sessions to help educate and prepare companies for what lies ahead. 

Key contacts


Mike Barker

Director of Ecology +44 (0)1480 466335 EMAIL
Cambridge | UK

Simon Zisman

Senior Director & Director of Ecology (Scotland) +44 (0) 131 555 5011 EMAIL
Edinburgh - Belford House | UK

James Mccrory

Senior Associate – Ecology +44 (0) 28 9066 7914 EMAIL
Belfast | UK
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Joanne Wilson

Associate Director 029 2066 8662 EMAIL
Cardiff - Callaghan Square | UK
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