Housing development site with scaffolding around half built houses

Biodiversity Net Gain to be mandatory from November this year

The Environment Act 2021 introduced the requirement for developments to deliver a  minimum 10% enhancement in biodiversity against developments. We have, today, heard through DEFRA’s announcement that Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is to be mandatory for Town and Country Planning Act development from November 2023

Within the announcement some exemptions have been set out which includes; an exemption for householder applications, small scale self build and custom house building, development impacting habitats of an area below a threshold of 25m2, or 5m for linear habitats such as hedgerows, biodiversity gain sites (where habitats are being enhanced for wildlife). 

There is also a delay in bringing forward the BNG requirements for small sites (fewer than 10 houses, or less then 0.5 hectares) until April 2024. 

As part of a planning application applicants are required to submit a biodiversity gain plan and we are anticipating that DEFRA will soon be providing further guidance and a template, along with further guidance on off-site offsetting. 

The details take time to be reviewed and there will likely be more questions arising, together with further announcements from DEFRA in order to embed the regulations.  You may wish to review the publications here: 

For more information, get in touch with our Environment Team for advice and expert knowledge on how this information may affect you: