BNG – What do I do if I want to make land available for Biodiversity Net Gain?
If you are a landowner, or a broker acting on behalf of a landowner, and you want to make some money out of land you can commit to improving, the land needs to go on the ‘biodiversity gain register’ – even if you have already agreed which developer is going to take advantage of it.
To put land on the register you need the following:
• Information about the land (where it is, its redline boundary etc.)
• Proof of ownership (and permission of the owner if you are not the owner)
• The biodiversity metric for the improvement (without the spatial discount, as you will not know what development is allocated to it yet)
• The Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan (see below)
• The legal agreement securing the land for 30 years (either a s106 agreement or a conservation covenant)
What is not mentioned above is that you will need evidence of the land being in the state you claim before it is improved, so don’t forget that element.
There is to be a template for a Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan (which is needed for both onsite BNG and offsite BNG), please get in touch if you need help drafting a Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan.
To demonstrate that the land is or is to be secured in its new or improved habitat, you will either need a s106 agreement or a conservation covenant agreement. The latter is a new concept introduced by the Part 7 of the Environment Act 2021, and although it has been brought in force none are yet possible because the government has yet to allow anyone to become a ‘responsible body’ which must be the counterparty to such an agreement as the local planning authority is in the case of a s106 agreement. Please get in touch if you need help drafting a BNG-specific s106 agreement or conservation covenant agreement.
Finally, when land on the register is to be allocated to a development, although not in legislation or in the register requirements, there will need to be an agreement between the developer and broker and/or landowner because the former is responsible for the planning condition that Biodiversity Net Gain will be provided and maintained but the latter is responsible for doing that, to cover issues such as one party disappearing. Please get in touch if you need help drafting a developer land allocation agreement.