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Landmark nature legislation launches to tackle biodiversity loss

by | 12 Feb 24 | Nature & Biodiversity, News

The biodiversity net gain (BNG) legislation launches today, bringing into effect mandatory rules for all new major developments across England in an effort to tackle the decline in biodiversity.

From today, under Schedule 7A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 developers will be required to deliver a mandatory biodiversity net gain of 10% on all major developments, unless otherwise exempt.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) defines major developments as industrial, commercial and mixed-use sites, including residential developments with 10 or more dwellings, or sites greater than 0.5ha.

Moving forward developers will be required to quantify their anticipated impact on a site’s plants, animals and habitats as part of their planning process, in an effort to “deliver the beautiful homes the country needs, support wildlife and create great places for people to live,” says environment minister, Rebecca Pow.

She goes on to add: “This vital tool builds on our work to reverse the decline in nature and for everyone to live within a 15-minute walk of a green space or water and will transform how development and nature can work together to benefit communities.”

With group head of biodiversity at Barratt Developments PLC, Helen Nyul, saying: “[BNG] is a win-win for nature, people and for businesses.”

In January of this year Defra published its new biodiversity net gain metric calculation tool, developers and land managers supplying off-site biodiversity units will be required to use this metric.

BNG commencement for small developments is currently 2 April 2024, with nationally significant infrastructure penned for late 2025.

Keep an eye out for Pro Landscaper’s guide to biodiversity, coming soon.

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