Government Shifts Biodiversity Net Gain Deadline to January 2024

Government Shifts Biodiversity Net Gain Deadline to January 2024
An artist’s illustration of artificial intelligence (AI). This image depicts how AI could help understand ecosystems and identify species. It was created by Nidia Dias as part of the Visual

Government Extends Biodiversity Net Gain Deadline to January 2024: A Closer Look

In a significant move, the government has decided to delay the implementation of its mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirement to January of the forthcoming year. This decision marks a pivotal shift in the timeline for developers in England.

Under the updated timetable, developers will now be mandated to achieve a 10% BNG starting from January 2024 when undertaking the construction of new residential, industrial, or commercial projects. This legislative requirement compels developers to make a net positive impact on the local environment. This can be achieved through various means, such as the creation of new habitats and the establishment of green spaces.

Originally slated for introduction in November 2023, this delay provides developers with additional time to strategize and adapt to the forthcoming changes. Small-scale sites will also be subject to the BNG requirement, albeit from April 2024 onwards. Furthermore, the government is resolute in its plan to implement BNG in Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, an initiative set to take effect in 2025.

The inception of BNG was facilitated through the 2021 Environment Act, a significant legislative milestone. The government placed immense importance on BNG, highlighting its pivotal role in achieving the ambitious target of halting the decline in species abundance by the year 2030.

Biodiversity Minister Trudy Harrison has articulated the government’s vision for BNG, stating, “BNG will guarantee that new developments are conducive to both wildlife and human inhabitants. We will establish locales rich in natural diversity while simultaneously ensuring that communities receive the essential new homes and infrastructure they require. The updated timetable and guidelines we are outlining today will facilitate a seamless transition as we approach the full implementation of BNG in January 2024.”

This statement underscores the government’s commitment to a balanced and sustainable approach to development, one that is not only beneficial for wildlife but also addresses the housing and infrastructure needs of communities.

Developers and planning authorities have been urged to seize this extended period to familiarize themselves with the guidelines and make preparations for the seamless integration of BNG into the planning framework. This extended timeframe aims to ensure a smoother transition towards the effective implementation of biodiversity net gain measures in the coming year.

As we move forward, it is essential for all stakeholders, from developers to planning authorities, to work collaboratively to realize the full potential of BNG. By embracing this paradigm shift, we have the opportunity to create developments that not only meet the needs of our communities but also safeguard the precious biodiversity of our local environments.

 


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