BlogsThe Definitive Manual on Biodiversity Net Gain for Local Planning Authorities

The Definitive Manual on Biodiversity Net Gain for Local Planning Authorities

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is rapidly evolving as an essential element in global planning and development. In the UK, it has become a mandatory requirement for all new developments to exhibit a net positive impact on biodiversity, heralding a pivotal shift in environmental engagement.

As Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), you are entrusted with a vital role in ensuring the effective implementation of this policy. This guide aims to furnish you with the necessary knowledge and tools to adeptly navigate the BNG terrain.

Understanding BNG

BNG is a principle designed to improve the natural world’s state post-development. It mandates developers to attain a quantifiable increase in biodiversity units at their development site relative to its pre-development baseline. This enhancement can be achieved through various methods, including:

  • Creation and augmentation of habitats on-site
  • Compensatory measures off-site
  • Habitat banking initiatives

The fundamental ethos of BNG is to ensure that development activities leave an enduring positive imprint on nature, contributing to broader objectives of biodiversity conservation and restoration.

The Significance of BNG

  • Biodiversity Preservation and Enhancement: BNG plays a crucial role in halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity, securing a vibrant natural world for future generations.
  • Climate Change Resilience: Diverse ecosystems are more adaptable to climate change impacts, providing vital ecosystem services like flood mitigation and carbon storage.
  • Public Health and Wellness Benefits: Proximity to natural environments positively influences mental and physical health, enhancing residents’ life quality.
  • Economic Advantages: BNG can generate employment opportunities and new business ventures in the environmental sector and draw investments towards sustainable development projects.

The Role of LPAs in BNG

LPAs are central to the successful implementation of BNG. Your responsibilities encompass:

  • Formulating local planning policies and guidelines that advocate BNG
  • Appraising and authenticating BNG plans submitted by developers
  • Monitoring adherence to BNG stipulations and enforcing compliance
  • Cultivating internal expertise to comprehend and apply BNG principles
  • Collaborating with local communities and stakeholders

LPAs’ Resource Toolkit

Various resources are accessible to assist LPAs in efficiently implementing BNG. These include:

  • The Biodiversity Metric: The official instrument for measuring biodiversity units in England.
  • DEFRA’s BNG Guidance: An exhaustive manual for LPAs on enacting BNG requirements.
  • CIEEM’s BNG Good Practice Principles: Practical advice for actualizing BNG in the field.
  • Natural England’s BNG Toolkit: A compilation of resources and case studies to aid LPAs.
  • Agile Initiative’s BNG Checklist: A user-friendly tool for LPAs to assess BNG plans.

Future Outlook

BNG is a dynamic and evolving policy area. However, through collaborative efforts with developers, communities, and other stakeholders, LPAs can play a pivotal role in ensuring that BNG yields beneficial outcomes for both nature and society.

Conclusion

The adoption of BNG presents a significant chance to address the biodiversity crisis and foster a sustainable future. By adopting a proactive stance and leveraging available resources, LPAs can be instrumental in making BNG a triumph.

Additional Guidelines for LPAs:

  • Early Integration: Incorporate BNG considerations into your planning policies and local development plans from the outset.
  • Fostering Collaborations: Work in concert with developers, landowners, environmental NGOs, and other pertinent parties to realize BNG goals.
  • Effective Communication: Engage with local communities and residents to elucidate the merits of BNG.
  • Ongoing Assessment: Consistently review and refine your BNG policies and methodologies to ensure their effectiveness.

By adhering to these practices, LPAs can emerge as leaders in actualizing BNG and securing a more flourishing future for our natural world.

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