Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain: Updated timetable

On 27 September 2023, the government formally announced that the planned implementation of the mandatory requirement for Biodiversity Net Gain ('BNG') to be delivered alongside new developments will be delayed until January 2024. Introduced by the 2021 Environment Act, the BNG requirements were initially intended to come into effect next month (November 2023).

This means that under the updated timetable, developers in England will be required to deliver 10% BNG from January 2024 onwards when building new housing, commercial or industrial developments.

Despite these delays, the implementation date for small sites is still April 2024 and the implementation for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects is still planned for 2025.

When will the Government publish guidance?

As part of the updated timetable, the Government have committed to publishing a full set of guidance and regulations to assist both landowners, developers and Local Planning Authorities by the end of November 2023. This includes:

  • the statutory biodiversity metric to calculate the correct biodiversity gain;
  • the draft biodiversity gain plan template to help developers prepare for what they will need to complete during the planning application process;
  • the Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan template, which will set out how the improved significant on-site and off-site habitats will be managed for the long term;
  • a package of biodiversity net gain guidance that sets out further advice for landowners, developers, and Local Planning Authorities around their role and responsibilities in delivering mandatory biodiversity net gain.

How to prepare and plan for the delivery of biodiversity net gain?

Unfortunately, until the guidance and regulations are published in November 2023, the details of how the BNG requirement will operate in practice is still an unknown. In the interim, there is much that developers and planning authorities should be thinking about to ensure they are ready for when BNG requirement becomes mandatory in January 2024. For more information about how to get ready for BNG, please see our article.

When the full guidance is published we will be preparing a further detailed update for our landowner and developer clients so watch this space.

Who can I talk to about Biodiversity Net Gain?

If you would like to talk to us about the impact of Biodiversity Net Gain for your land or development project, please get in touch with one of our experts below.

Be sure to check out and listen to our Experts in the Field podcast series for other useful information as well.

Key contacts