Biodiversity Net Gain Plans in London

Despite a two-year transition period, a large percentage of authorities will already be following the rules of biodiversity net gain and expect a 10% increase in the majority of projects. To assist developers to meet the mandate, ecologists are able to develop bespoke BNG plans for projects in the London region.

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Environmental Condition of Greater London and the City of London

The current state of biodiversity in the London region is detailed in the executive summary of the London Environment Strategy. Despite admitting that the natural environment has been improving in many ways over recent times, the strategy makes several strong claims. For instance, it states that carbon dioxide emissions are too high, nearly half of residents don’t have access to open green areas, the demand for freshwater is outweighing the rate of supply, sections of the city are reaching full capacity of the available electricity infrastructure, and poor air pollution has been the cause of thousands of early deaths in residents.

By the year 2050, the City of London alone is predicted to be occupied by over 11 million residents, and according to the London Environment Strategy, the environmental issues listed above will only worsen if effective changes aren’t made soon. Along with multiple pledges made in the London plan, such as a drive to support urban greening, integrate green infrastructure and combat climate change, mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) is set to greatly improve the condition of London and the rest of England and Wales to a measurably better state over the coming years, making the city greener and widening the number of healthy and resilient places throughout the city as a result of tweaks to simple design considerations.

Introduced into law by the UK government as part of the Environment Act in 2021, BNG supports the work of the Greater London Authority and the London Wildlife Trust to enforce an increase of ecological assets, equating to a minimum of 10% following the completion of the majority of development projects, including a significant portion of planning projects in the City of London and Greater London.

Councils Across the London Region

All of England will be affected by the biodiversity net gain planning policy, with only a few specific exemptions. While you may be under the impression that every development in the London region will be under the jurisdiction of one all-encompassing local authority, Greater London is in fact split into 32 borough councils, and a separate local authority oversees the City of London.

For support ensuring you correspond with the correct local council for your London development, all local authorities in the region are listed below:

Local Councils in London

City of London Councils:

  • City of London Council

Greater London Councils:

  • Barking and Dagenham Council
  • Barnet Council
  • Bexley Council
  • Brent Council
  • Bromley Council
  • Camden Council
  • Croydon Council
  • Ealing Council
  • Enfield Council
  • Greenwich Council
  • Hackney Council
  • Hammersmith and Fulham Council
  • Haringey Council
  • Harrow Council
  • Havering Council
  • Hillingdon Council
  • Hounslow Council
  • Islington Council
  • Kensington and Chelsea Council
  • Kingston upon Thames Council
  • Lambeth Council
  • Lewisham Council
  • Merton Council
  • Newham Council
  • Redbridge Council
  • Richmond upon Thames Council
  • Southwark Council
  • Sutton Council
  • Tower Hamlets Council
  • Waltham Forest Council
  • Wandsworth Borough Council
  • Westminster City Council

The Concept of Biodiversity Net Gain

Excluding only a handful of exceptions, the biodiversity net gain (BNG) planning requirement affects all new developments in England, impacting whether or not developers see planning permissions granted. It centres on the concept of increasing ecological value on-site by a minimum of 10%. For it to work, a measurement is taken beforehand using a universal biodiversity metric and a post-development measurement is predicted using the local plans of the project. Changes that are needed will then be determined based on the gap between the two measurements and what needs to be done to reach a minimum net gain of 10%.

Since November 2021, the biodiversity net gain policy has been undergoing a two-year transition period, meaning that developers and local planning authorities alike are given an opportunity to adjust to it before it becomes a mandatory requirement. That said, in preparation for national adherence in 2023, many planning departments within councils have instantly begun to enforce BNG. As a result, developers are advised to follow the rules of the policy as it may be the case that their local planning authority treats the requirement to deliver net gains as a mandatory expectation ahead of time.

Satisfying the BNG Policy

Along with councils and developers, experts in ecology have also had to develop a quick, effective and better understanding of biodiversity net gain and new design approaches that will fit the mandate. Depending on your choice of ecological consultancy, you may find levels of expertise in certain areas, and BNG has become yet another consideration. With it standing as an important component in the majority of current and future development proposals, it is crucial that you hire an ecological team that is extensively knowledgeable about the BNG requirements and the parameters of your local planning authority.

Through maintaining a focus on biodiversity net gain since the concept’s infancy, our ecologists are equipped for offering impactful guidance and insight that will ensure your development meets or exceeds the BNG policy. Using the recommendations of an ecological consultant during an assessment on a plot of land, effective next steps can be developed within a BNG plan that will guarantee the development is carried out in a way that meets the requirements of the policy, whether it involves altering the development site or the development plans, or insisting on habitat creation or the process of purchasing biodiversity credits or biodiversity units to enhance biodiversity off-site. It will also benefit the planning department of the local authorities when it comes to granting or denying planning applications.

Book a BNG Assessment Today

Working the additional consideration surrounding biodiversity net gain (BNG) into your development project will eliminate the potentially costly delays that could arise from disregarding the policy. Refusal to do this would be particularly risky if you chose to ignore BNG under the jurisdiction of local planning authorities that enforce it prior to the completion of the two-year transition.

Following an assessment of a development site, our biodiversity net gain plans will cover every ecological feature present, including obstacles that could cause harm to biodiversity value, worthwhile components that need to be kept to retain existing biodiversity value, and factors that could be added or enhanced to increase the value of biodiversity.

As each development proposal and site is unique, we offer a free quote to anyone that speaks to us based on their exact specifications. Simply call us via the number at the top of this page or fill out our quote form and we will issue you with a no-obligation price for your BNG assessment and plan. One of our team of ecologists will then be able to visit your site, conduct the assessment, create the biodiversity gain plan, and help you to gain planning permission for your project.