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Biodiversity Net Gain

We are working closely with local authorities, landowners and developers to monitor and develop the market for biodiversity offsetting in our region.

Housing Development

Biodiversity Net Gain

An emerging market

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a new requirement introduced by the Environment Act 2021. It obliges developers to deliver a 10% gain in biodiversity compared to pre-development levels. Some developers may need to fund habitat creation or restoration ‘off site’ to achieve this target. This will generate opportunities for landowners, farmers and land managers to be paid for undertaking habitat conservation activities on their land. The net gain requirement is measured in biodiversity units (BDUs), which are calculated using the Biodiversity Metric, designed by DEFRA.

If the required 10% net gain in biodiversity is to be delivered offsite, then the developer and a receptive landowner will need to agree terms for this. The minimum length of a BNG project is 30 years.

GSC Grays can offer a comprehensive BNG service for both landowners and developers.  This service is informed by:

  • expertise in emerging nature markets
  • early trials work with DEFRA
  • professionals with specialist knowledge in both environmental management and development
  • engagement with DEFRA regarding the online National BNG Register
  • the successful delivery of habitat restoration and creation projects
  • our appreciation of the demands and requirements of both parties

All our services are delivered by specialist consultants and agents from our Environment & Sustainability or Planning & Development teams.

Biodiversity Net Gain projects

What makes a site suitable for Biodiversity Net Gain?

To be suitable for a biodiversity net gain project a site will need to have potential for habitat enhancement or creation; it does not necessarily need to be of high biodiversity value at present.  As the objective is to deliver a significant gain in biodiversity, a low baseline may in some cases make this easier to achieve.

Developers will be incentivised to deliver biodiversity gain within the same local authority as the development, so supply and demand for biodiversity units may vary regionally. Sites that are close to areas where there is large scale development may therefore have greater value, but a site with significant opportunities for gain in a remote location could also be attractive to a developer looking for a single site to deliver on a large net gain requirement.

Unlike national agri-environment schemes, management of biodiversity net gain projects can be tailored to the specific site and context. Suitable projects may include arable reversion to grassland, restoration of species rich grassland, improving the condition of existing woodlands or creation of new habitats such as scrub or wetlands.

If you are interested in finding out more about Biodiversity Net Gain call us on 01524 880320.

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GSC Grays are experts in rural land and property. You can find all the information you need about the sectors that we specialise in, from estate agency to environmental management. We are here to help you to achieve your goals for your rural property, business, farm or estate, today and for generations to come.

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