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Turning a new leaf: UK's biodiversity net-gain mandate takes root

The United Kingdom government has unveiled its roadmap for upcoming legislation aimed at making new housing, commercial, and infrastructure developments nature positive. The formal announcement confirms that the legislation, known as Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), will be introduced in November.

UKs biodiversity net-gain mandate takes root_ Landscape view of rural farmland in UK_visual 1Landscape view of rural farmland, UK.

This marks a crucial milestone in enshrining Biodiversity Net Gain into statutory law, with developers in England set to face mandatory requirements from January 2024. They will be obligated by law to achieve a 10% biodiversity net gain when constructing new housing, industrial, or commercial projects. This entails creating a net positive impact on the local environment, such as establishing new habitats and green spaces. For smaller developments, this requirement will come into effect from April 2024, while implementation for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects is scheduled for 2025.

The introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain, initially proposed through the Environment Act, is integral to the UK's commitment to halting the decline in species abundance by 2030. Simultaneously, it aims to enhance communities and foster new homes.

Read more: Global investors unite to combat biodiversity loss, mobilising $23.6 trillion

To facilitate the implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain, the government has allocated over £15 million to support Local Planning Authorities in their preparations. Notably, several housing developers are already successfully incorporating Biodiversity Net Gain principles into their projects.

By November's end, comprehensive guidance and regulations will be published, including the critical statutory biodiversity metric, biodiversity gain plan template, habitat management, and monitoring plan template. This package of resources will empower developers and planning authorities to effectively embrace Biodiversity Net Gain in January 2024, aligning housing needs with environmental benefits.

Read more: Biodiversity credits: an innovative financing mechanism for conservation

Trudy Harrison, Biodiversity Minister, stated, ‘Biodiversity Net Gain will ensure new developments work for both wildlife and people. We will create nature-rich places whilst ensuring communities get the new homes and infrastructure they need.’

As the countdown to January 2024 begins, developers and planning authorities are urged to familiarise themselves with the guidance and prepare for the integration of Biodiversity Net Gain into the planning system.

DGB Group is dedicated to promoting nature-based solutions as the ultimate means of safeguarding and rejuvenating our natural world. Through our extensive reforestation and afforestation initiatives, we actively contribute to the restoration of biodiversity and the revitalisation of degraded land, all while fostering sustainable development within local communities. Our diverse range of solutions empowers businesses, investors, and individuals to engage in nature conservation in an easily accessible and transparent manner.

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