In the lead up to the introduction of the mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) regime, the Department for Education, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have published a draft biodiversity gain plan template (applicable for major developments) and related draft guidance and information for the benefit of developers, local authorities and land managers.
The BNG aims to contribute to enhancing and recovering nature in the process of developing land. The regime focuses on ensuring that the environment and habitat is in a better state than it was before development; this can be in the form of habitat improvements on the site of the development, off site (away from the development site or in the form of units from a land manager) or by way of purchasing statutory credits from the government. BNG was due to come into force in November 2023, but has been delayed until January 2024.
The biodiversity gain plan is a document which will be used by developers to demonstrate how they will meet the BNG objective. It will be submitted by the applicant for review by the local planning authority after planning permission has been granted. The decision will be published on the relevant local planning authority register and approval must be obtained before a development can commence. The draft template for the biodiversity gain plan can be accessed here: Biodiversity gain plan template
The government have indicated that it will publish all guidance and regulations by the end of November 2023 and have encouraged developers and planning authorities to familiarise themselves with the guidance in preparation for the integration of BNG into the planning system.
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