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Biodiversity Net Gain delay welcomed, but details, resources and training for planning teams still needed

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) recently published new evidence that shows planners have struggled to prepare for new Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements, which have now been delayed by the government.

The data showed that 61% of public sector planners could not confirm they would have the dedicated BNG resource and ecological expertise in-house in place by November. Earlier this year, The RTPI’s member magazine The Planner found that 38% of planners expected the ‘introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain requirements’ to be one of the biggest challenges they’ll face this year.

The RTPI welcomes the delay, but hopes the government will use this extra time to engage with planning teams and confirm the details, funding, and training essential for the successful implementation of BNG.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: “Our recent research showed that the government has been running out of time to prepare local planning authorities for the implementation of new Biodiversity Net Gain requirements.

"Planners are passionate about the integral role they play in environment improvement, and have been keenly preparing to deliver BNG despite sufficient funding or guidance provided by the government.

“We welcome the delay to ensure the guidance is prepared and hope that immediate clarity and support from the government will come quickly to ensure implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain is successful and to avoid adding to England’s planning backlog. We know that a quarter of local authority planners left in the last seven years, leaving a hole in the resources and expertise of local authorities that is yet to be filled.

“We hope to see the government using this additional time to provide further details on how this implementation will work and we’ll continue to engage with Ministers and officials behind the scenes to urgently clarify the details of BNG regulations.”

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