Biodiversity Net Gain: results of national consultation published

Following the national consultation on Biodiversity Net Gain, the government has published the results alongside its future intentions. Key headlines are:

Net Gain level: Legislation will require development to achieve a 10{db9673276223f4231b43bc4abdf103a34c48801c3c8505bc16ad0ca94075a52e} net gain for biodiversity

Brownfield sites: targeted exemption for brownfield sites that meet a number of criteria including that they (i) do not contain priority habitats and (ii) face genuine difficulties in delivering viable development.

Management: Government will require net gain outcomes, through habitat creation or enhancement as part of delivering mandatory biodiversity net gain, to be maintained for a minimum of 30 years, and will encourage longer term protection where this is acceptable to the landowner.

Tarriff: government will not introduce a new tariff on loss of biodiversity. Instead, government will set a requirement to achieve biodiversity net gain. The risk that the market supply of habitat creation will not meet demand will be addressed by government’s plan to provide a supply of statutory biodiversity units into the compensation market. By not instating a rigid tariff mechanism, government will make it easier for local authorities, landowners and organisations to set up habitat compensation schemes locally where they wish to do so.

Metric: An updated version of the biodiversity metric will be published for comment and review this year, alongside a new spreadsheet-based tool which will establish a standard format and automate some of the required calculations. This updated metric will include new, clearer, habitat condition assessment guidance and the range of other improvements set out alongside the consultation. Together these will address many of the issues with existing biodiversity metrics raised by respondents at consultation.

In this regard, Natural England has now launched a beta consultation version of the much anticipated Biodiversity Metric 2.0. This metric takes in a variety of additional parameters over the original Defra 1.0 metric and feedback is sought from users on how well the metric works, the ease of use of the tool and the guidance provided.

Further details on the results of the consultation and the government intentions can be found here.