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Mandatory biodiversity net gain rolled out across all sites

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) measures have been implemented throughout England. This requires developers to add 10% “biodiversity” according to a formula generated by Natural England to the existing level of biodiversity. This can be achieved via onsite provision or off site contribution.

The 10% BNG requirement has been mandatory for large  sites since 12 February, and now applies to all developments in England, except for certain exempt classes of development which include householder developments.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has been raising awareness of the challenges of BNG since its consultation response in April 2022. The institute has been running a standing survey of its members, receiving feedback from planners preparing for the BNG requirements.

Findings from the RTPI’s BNG survey as recently as February 2024 found that 81% of planners in the public sector need further ‘guidance, advice and support’, while 68% of all planners need more staff and skills, and 61% require more case studies of best practice.

Throughout the implementation process, the RTPI has urged the government to provide clear guidance on BNG and to allocate sufficient resources to local planning authorities to operate this new system.

The final guidance on BNG was issued in February, along with information around funding for the financial year 2024-25, which answered various questions across the planning sector that had been outstanding since the draft guidance issued on 30 November 2023.

However, some uncertainties remain, particularly around how local planning authorities should treat mandatory BNG in local plans, how sites for inclusion in local plans should be assessed, and how site allocations should be made.

The RTPI is now asking planners in the public and private sectors to put forward positive case studies and provide the Institute with feedback on Biodiversity Net Gain practice in planning.

To help its members prepare for BNG implementation, the RTPI has been running training and peer-to-peer learning events across England. RTPI members can still attend upcoming events on Biodiversity Net Gain happening across England, including:

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