Bio-Diversity Net Gain Regulations: The what, when and why for charities


The Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Regulations came in to force this week (12 February 2024) and will be mandatory for most where planning permission is required. Unless an exemption applies, this will require at least a 10% gain in the biodiversity value found on the site prior to development, which can be delivered either fully, in part through off site units, or via purchasing statutory credits.

In a nutshell, the BNG Regulations are an ambitious government strategy to ensure wildlife habitats are left in a better condition than before the development. We will see for the first time, all habitats, no matter how important, being recognised in the planning system for their value for nature and people. This new statutory requirement will replace the old piecemeal system whereby different local authorities adopted varying approaches. 

The scheme will become mandatory for minor sites on 2 April 2024 and is expected to extend to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, from late November 2025.

Opportunities and risks for charities

The new statutory regime provides positive opportunities for charities who own or who are left developable land, and of course specifically those which are concerned with land management, conservation, and preservation.

However, there are potentially some challenges and risks involved due to the potential increase in competition to obtain land that supports BNG, which may also increase the price of the land. There will no doubt also be a teething period involved in getting up to speed with the new requirements.

Responsible bodies and further resources

There is an opportunity to generate a revenue stream from land whilst preserving the biodiversity for future generations. The scheme also offers the opportunity for landowners to apply to DEFRA to act as a 'Responsible Body', which will allow it to enter in to 'Conservation Covenants' with landowners, to establish what the landowner must do to ensure compliance with the BNG regulations and vital protection of designated sites.

If you would like to speak with someone in our team about the potential impact of the BNG regulations, please get in touch.

In the meantime, please take a look at our Natural Capital page and Landowner's Guide to Biodiversity Net Gain, for further information about the scheme.

For information on applying to become a Responsible Body, visit the website.

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