What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity Net Gain, or BNG, is a new mandatory condition being attached to all planning permissions where at least 25 square metres of habitat within the red-line boundary will reduce in value. Any habitat lost by the development must be replaced with enhanced habitat elsewhere. The improvement in habitat needs to score at least 110% of the value of the habitat that is being lost, according to a score in ‘biodiversity units’ using a metric developed by Natural England. There must be a commitment to maintain the new habitat in its target condition for at least 30 years.

Some local authorities may have stricter policies than the statutory minimum of 10% net gain although the government is now discouraging this. You can check your local authority’s BNG policies via our table which contains links to England’s 317 local councils’ references to BNG.

Full details of the new regime are set out in Schedule 7A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

It is essential to become familiar with this regime, whether you are expecting to make a planning application, are looking to earn money from developers looking for enhanced habitat, either as a landowner or broker, or work for a local authority planning team.