A biodiversity net gain company helps developers comply with government regulations and demonstrate that their projects are sustainable and environmentally responsible. It also allows them to enhance and add value to their developments by fostering positive relationships with stakeholders, attracting environmentally conscious buyers or tenants, and opening up new opportunities.
Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is the idea that development should leave nature in a better state than it was before, building on the government’s ambition to tackle the twin environmental emergencies of climate change and declining wildlife. BNG can be achieved on site, off site or through a combination of both. It is a key part of the government’s 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, and will become mandatory through national planning policy in 2024.
However, BNG has not been without its challenges and critics. It is notoriously difficult to quantify, since the world’s ecosystems are vast and complex. Identifying an accurate baseline or ‘original’ state is challenging, and biodiversity improvements can take years to take effect. Companies may be tempted to exaggerate their BNG efforts as a PR exercise, but this can backfire, creating doubt about the environmental impact of their operations and causing public distrust.
In addition, BNG can be costly and time consuming to implement. A good BNG strategy requires a full survey and assessment of the site, including its existing biodiversity. It is often necessary to hire consultants to undertake this work, which can be expensive and inconvenient for both the developer and the local authority. Furthermore, the site will likely need to be closed for several weeks whilst surveys are undertaken.
To avoid these pitfalls, it is crucial that companies consider their BNG requirements early in the planning process and make biodiversity considerations a central part of their mitigation plans. This will not only ensure that the development complies with national and local planning requirements, but will also help to reduce project costs and delays by avoiding time-consuming and costly remediation measures.