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Government releases new regulations on Biodiversity Net Gain

Yesterday the Government issued draft guidance on how to operate mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) in the planning system in England.

It covers:

  • What is the statutory framework for biodiversity net gain?
  • How is biodiversity net gain applied through the planning process?
  • Which planning permissions are in scope and which are exempt from biodiversity net gain?
  • How is the biodiversity gain objective of 10% gain calculated?
  • How is the biodiversity gain objective of 10% gain calculated?
  • How will biodiversity net gain be effectively monitored and enforced?
  • What is the biodiversity gain hierarchy?
  • Submitting a planning application
  • Determination of the planning application
  • Biodiversity Gain Plan
  • Phased development

It should provide the official statutory guidance  on everything planners in local authorities and private practice need to know about BNG. The only thing it does not contain is the exact date when the mandatory provisions come into force. This is likely to be after 15 January and before 1 February because there is sufficient time for the  Parliamentary process to be completed for this to work.

As announced earlier in the autumn there will also be a temporary exemption for small sites which will run until  1 April 2024. (For this purpose small sites are those not defined as major development under the Article 2 Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.) There will be no additional guidance or legislation for the small sites when they come on stream as all this is contained in the current legislation.

Over the last year the Planning Advisory Service has been providing additional non statutory guidance to support the profession in its attempts to implement this new obligation. Following yesterday’s announcement PAS is hosting two BNG events in December (i) a BNG policy update and (ii) a session on the Statutory Biodiversity Metric. Owing to its funding arrangements these are ONLY open to all local planning authority officers. Details may be obtained from PAS if you are in an LPA.

PAS has also published a BNG essentials slide-pack and will be updating its webpages over coming weeks.

The Future Homes Hub also provides webpages of support.

The planning practice guidance is currently in draft. If there are aspects of it which cause difficulty, or there are areas missing, please contact [email protected] and we will aim to forward those to the Government.

In response to concerns from members, the RTPI launched a survey to monitor member positions on the implementation of the Biodiversity Net Gain. RTPI members can still help to inform the Institute’s engagement with Government and other public bodies on BNG by answering our BNG Transition, Implementation and Monitoring Survey here.

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