BNG – What do I do if I need to make a planning application from November?
From November, planning applications will need to be accompanied by a ‘BNG Statement’ (also referred to as ‘biodiversity gain information’ but the government seems to be using this new term). This must include:
• The pre-development biodiversity value generated using the biodiversity metric;
• Steps taken to minimise adverse biodiversity impacts;
• The proposed approach to enhancing biodiversity on-site; and
• Any proposed off-site biodiversity enhancements (including the use of credits) that have been planned or arranged for the development.
Outline applications and phased developments need to supply additional information.
We are developing a template for this document, so please get in touch if you need help drafting a BNG Statement.
Once planning permission is granted, the local authority must add a condition to the permission requiring the submission of a biodiversity gain plan. Please get in touch if you need help with the wording of this condition.
Before development can commence, the developer must submit a ‘biodiversity gain plan’ to the local planning authority and have it approved by the LPA. The government is developing a template for this plan, but it will cover approximately this (very long) list of items:
• Project information (name, location, red-line boundary, planning authority, planning register reference, details of person completing the plan);
• Steps taken to minimise biodiversity impacts;
• Completed biodiversity metrics, pre- and post-development, any offsite biodiversity gain land, whether using small sites metric or main metric (hedgerows and watercourses must be calculated separately);
• Details of the completed onsite baseline survey used to inform the metric;
• Confirmation that metric has been followed, or justification for not following it;
• Evidence of strategic significance for onsite land (i.e. mention or not of the site in a local plan, local nature recovery strategy etc);
• If there are designated sites for nature conservation onsite, then further information about how this was minimised and will be dealt with
• If there are protected species onsite, how these will be dealt with
• Details of any ‘irreplaceable habitat’ onsite (such as ancient woodland; this will have a separate regime that covers it)
• Reference for site on biodiversity gain register (if using offsite BNG)
• Description of pre- and post-enhancement of offsite land (if using offsite BNG)
• Details of the completed offsite baseline survey used to inform the metric
• Evidence of strategic significance for offsite land (i.e. mention or not of the site in a local plan, local nature recovery strategy etc.)
• A Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan (if metric is non-zero, and onsite or offsite BNG is being provided)
• A legal agreement that the land will be kept in the enhanced habitat for 30 years (see further below)
• Confirmation that any degradation since 30 January 2020 has been ignored or has planning permission
• Details of how the biodiversity gain land will be monitored and reported to the local planning authority
• A credit receipt (if statutory credits have been purchased the government)
• Any limitations or assumptions you wish to refer to
• Whether you have complied with British Standard BS8683 or not (this is not mandatory); and
• Data sharing consent.
Again, we will be adapting the government template to be as user-friendly as possible, please get in touch if you need help drafting a Biodiversity Gain Plan. To find out more about BNG, we have a webpage on Biodiversity Net Gain.