What is BNG? 

BNG is a new requirement for all new development to contribute improvements to biodiversity. The approach stems from the Environment Act 2021, which mandates a minimum of 10% increase in biodiversity post-development. This 10% increase is measured against a pre-development baseline and the policy aims to leave the natural environment in a demonstrably better state than before. A 10% net gain in biodiversity is typically achieved by enhancing, restoring or creating habitats, either within a development site or at offsite locations near to a development site. Habitats that are used for BNG require careful planning and monitoring to ensure that biodiversity improvements are sustained in the long-term. Preferably, sites used for BNG should contribute to the UK's broader environmental targets, enhancing ecological networks across the landscape. 

Why should landowners Explore BNG?

BNG is part of a new ‘Natural Capital’ movement that assigns value to previously intangible natural assets. Restoring biodiversity can create tradeable assets in the form of BNG units. Landowners who create BNG schemes are therefore creating tradeable assets that are now being traded through ‘nature markets’. BNG can provide a new revenue stream for landowners while also financing environmental stewardship.  

How can landowners get involved with Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)? 

If you are a landowner interested in developing a BNG scheme there is a lot to consider. From eligibility, legal responsibilities and project management to commercial considerations, and stakeholder management. Greenshank exists to take landowners through this process and ensure the best outcomes for you, and for nature.

Arrange a free consultation

Work with the experts to discover how to unlock the value in your land while protecting the environment.

Resources for Landowners

Commercial Considerations

Better understand the BNG market and how decisions you make at the start of the project can impact later on.

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Landowner eligibility

Understand if you are eligible and your legal commitments if you undertake a BNG scheme.

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Nutrient Neutrality

If you are considering combining nutrients and BNG, we explain the complexities of a Nutrient Neutrality scheme.

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Let's talk

If you are considering a BNG or nutrient scheme, get in touch to understand how to ensure maximum benefit from your scheme.
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Key principles of BNG

Measurable improvement
BNG requires a quantifiable increase in biodiversity. This is measured using the BNG Metric. The Metric uses a baseline assessment of habitat condition and quantifies the improvement in habitat condition and distinctiveness to show a positive impact on biodiversity.

Create additional improvements
One of the key principles of BNG is termed 'additionality'. This means BNG schemes should provide biodiversity improvements thar are additional to existing obligations and other grant funding, such the new Sustainable Farming Incentive. This principle ensures that the biodiversity enhancements made are above and beyond what is already required by law, policy and financial incentives, thereby contributing to a net positive impact on the environment.

Achieve the best outcomes and a ‘Net Gain’
The Environment Act stipulates that developers must achieve at least a 10% net gain in biodiversity. This statutory requirement ensures that biodiversity improvements don't simply replace habitat that is lost to development.

Adherence to the Mitigation Hierarchy
Deliver of biodiversity loss mitigation should be delivered following a hierarchy that must prioritise:

  • Avoidance: Preventing adverse impacts on biodiversity.
  • Minimisation: Reducing the severity and extent of unavoidable impacts.
  • Restoration/Rehabilitation: Repairing and restoring ecosystems damaged by development.
  • Offsetting: Compensating for residual impacts through biodiversity enhancements elsewhere.

Avoid losing biodiversity that cannot be offset by gains elsewhere
This ensures that irreplaceable habitats and species are preserved, recognizing that some losses cannot be adequately compensated by enhancements in other locations.

Address risks
Scheme developers are required to manage and mitigate risks to biodiversity. This ensures that potential negative impacts on biodiversity are identified, assessed, and minimised throughout the development process.

Create a Legacy
BNG projects must be sustainable over the long term. This includes committing to a minimum 30-year period for the management and maintenance of enhanced or created habitats. Long-term plans should include monitoring, adaptive management, and contingency measures to address unforeseen challenges. 

Stakeholder Engagement
Effective BNG requires the involvement of various stakeholders, including developers, landowners, local communities, and environmental organisations. Engagement ensures that biodiversity objectives align with local ecological, social, and economic contexts and that projects gain broader support and legitimacy.

Integration with Local and National Strategies
BNG initiatives should be integrated with local biodiversity action plans and national conservation strategies. This alignment ensures that BNG projects contribute to broader ecological networks and landscape-scale conservation goals, enhancing habitat connectivity and resilience.

Optimise Sustainability
BNG schemes should promote sustainable practices. This ensures that biodiversity enhancements are not only beneficial in the short term but also support long-term ecological health and resilience.

Monitoring and Management 
Regular monitoring and reporting on the progress and effectiveness of BNG measures deployed to ensure compliance with agreed-upon biodiversity targets. Schemes must be managed to achieve these targets. 

Financial Viability
BNG Schemes must be shown to be financially viable for the 30 year period and that all of the long-term monitoring and management requirements can be secured. 

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