Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is now mandatory

In England, as of 12 February 2024, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is mandatory under Schedule 7A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as inserted by Schedule 14 of the Environment Act 2021).

Developers must now deliver a BNG of 10%. This means a development will result in more or better quality natural habitat than there was before development.

Measuring biodiversity

For the purposes of BNG, biodiversity value is measured in standardised biodiversity units.

A habitat will contain a number of biodiversity units, depending on things like its:

  • size
  • quality
  • location
  • type

Biodiversity units can be lost through development or generated through work to create and enhance habitats.

Who will the BNG rules affect?

You need to know about the new rules if you’re a:

  • developer of major developments
  • developer of small sites from 2 April 2024
  • developer of nationally significant infrastructure projects from late November 2025
  • land manager wanting to sell in the BNG market
  • local planning authority (LPA)

Exempt developments

Some developments are exempt from BNG requirements.

Find out what types of development are exempt.

What land managers have to do

Read step by step guidance for land managers.

‘Land manager’ refers to these different roles across BNG guidance:

  • landowner
  • farmer
  • estate owner
  • habitat bank operator
  • facilities, property or estate manager
  • land agent
  • land advisor
  • planning authority using land they own
  • developer using land they own

Selling on the BNG market is a choice for land managers. It is a potential source of revenue and could fund nature recovery work on your land. You can sell off-site biodiversity units on your land to developers, who may need to buy these under mandatory BNG requirements.

Information on what local planning authorities have to do can be found here.

All the information you need about creating, enhancing and maintaining habitats to deliver BNG can be found on the GOV.UK website

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