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Biodiversity Net Gain Gathers Pace as NPPG Issues New Guidance

The Government has recently issued details on how biodiversity net gain should be delivered as part of new development. Discover more, here...

Along with the government’s response to DEFRA’s own consultation on mandating net gain in new developments, it has been confirmed that all new developments must produce an overall increase in UK plant and animal life. This should be achieved either by way of the actual site or, if that’s not possible, by contributing something to the local area or a list of government-approved sites.

The Farm Business Innovation Show works hard to keep you in the know about the latest industry events. Here, with the help of our exhibitor, Rural Solutions, we’ve set out the new guidance, suggesting a variety of measures for achieving net gain, and ensuring the habitat improvement will be valuable. 

If you want to learn more from us, or Rural Solutions, then get your FREE ticket to our show, this November. Otherwise, read on for more information on the new guidelines...

This open book in a lavender field shows the links between new biodiversity net gain guidance and the farming world

Biodiversity Net Gain New Guidance

So what exactly do the new guidelines say? Well, they outline four key areas:

  • Developers must deliver 10 percent net biodiversity gain through their schemes.
  • Councils must produce ‘local nature recovery strategies’ and administer the system. This will be a new area for local authorities to become skilled and experienced, which may take time and cost money.
  • Developers will have to buy ‘bio-diversity units’ if they can’t deliver biodiversity locally. This is a significant shift, meaning developers must invest in biodiversity through the government’s schemes, even if they cannot utilise the site itself. Previously developers paid a tariff, however, the new guideline is more pointed.
  • Developers have to guarantee the ‘net gain’ benefits are maintainable for at least the next 30 years, and authorities must police this.

Is this different from before?

Yes, unlike before where this wasn’t a priority in all developments, the government is responding to the very urgent need to address ecological impacts, and enforcing this through policy. This new legislation ensures that every scheme must provide a certain quantum of net-gain.

Challenges

This could be a difficult change for developers. It means always looking to provide sufficient capacity in the appropriate places, to create meaningful net gain, and ensure that there is a mechanism in place for its retention and enhancement over 30 years plus.

There is also the question of how the land is valued, at the moment, in terms of its biodiversity. As such, we understand there needs to be a baseline methodology as to how land is assessed in a consistent way.

This cute snail enjoying this green leaf represents biodiversity on land

In Summary

By the very rural nature of the proposals they work on, Rural Solutions are experienced in accommodating biodiversity net gain within their work. It’s important to them that they promote responsible and sustainable development in the countryside, and that it fits sensitively within its setting. Often, that means planning for minimal impact to plants and animals that may be affected by the site.

This is now being reflected in all planning work. Even so, Rural Solutions are looking to continue to improve their understanding of this subject, and grow their proposition based on this. If you would like to discuss how biodiversity net gain affects your plans, get your FREE ticket to the Farm Business Innovation Show on 6th & 7th November at the NEC, Birmingham.

We can’t wait to meet you there!

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