As I outlined in my article of last month, the Environment Bill is poised to hit the statute books, introducing the concept of ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’. The concept is to improve biodiversity by way of an ongoing condition in a planning approval, requiring that the biodiversity net gain of a development site would have to exceedthat of the undeveloped site by 10%, according to a metric developed by DEFRA.
This interesting article in the Estates Gazette delves a little deeper into this metric and how this 10% can be achieved. Whilst it appears that sites with a low biodiversity classification can be more easily brought up to this level of improvement, developers will need to be wary about buying sites with a high biodiversity classification, as improving these by 10% appears to be more difficult, and more expensive.
"Speaking at the RICS Rural Conference in 2020, a spokesman for the Environment Bank gave an example of a 45ha housing site in Cambridgeshire. The diversion of some of the site to provide a mere 10% of the required biodiversity units would cost an extra £61m compared with providing all the required units offsite".