BNG Plans in Greater Manchester and the City of Manchester

While biodiversity net gain is admittedly a worrying new addition to modern planning, developers in Greater Manchester and the Manchester City region can assure the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) with a BNG plan.

Get a Quick Quote

Step 1 of 3

Same Day Quotes
Planning Permission Focused
Simple, Hassle-free Service

Signs of Compliance to Biodiversity Net Gain

The UK government implemented the Environment Act into law in November 2021, and with it came biodiversity net gain (BNG). An entirely new approach to development, it focuses on the simple goal of leaving the state of biodiversity in a better condition upon completion of land and property developments on a long-term basis, affecting nearly all planning projects moving forwards and the relevant planning applications, aside from only minimal exemptions.

Although a potentially concerning concept for developers to grasp, ecologists are able to manage the application of the planning policy, formulating two biodiversity measurements to represent the development site at pre-development and post-development stages before comparing the two to evaluate suitable next steps. The deficit between the two figures can then be eliminated and the 10% increase can be met or even exceeded, ensuring that a better state has been achieved.

Up until February 2024, the need to provide an increase to net gain for biodiversity through development was only optional and based on the decision of the local council. After this point, it was brought forward by the government as a mandatory consideration, an ongoing programme and an ambitious aim to promote net gains of wildlife corridors. Alongside legislation, biodiversity net gain is also integrated within national policy, the national planning policy framework (NPPF), relevant legislation such as the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and three documents from the central government, local community councils and conservation organisations that biodiversity developers will need to acknowledge as professional guidance.

The lack of biodiversity can be perceived as a genuine issue in urban areas, so for any developers in the Manchester area, it is likely that restrictions from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Manchester City Council and other local authorities therein will be particularly strict on enforcing the policy. Not only will an increase in appropriate natural habitat be necessary, but it will need to be implemented practically and in a measurable way to achieve net gain of biodiversity for the new development correctly.

Ecological Standards Across Manchester

Formed from a cluster of towns and cities, Greater Manchester is unsurprisingly a predominantly urban part of England. Due to this, it is one of a handful of locations that need a high-level commitment to maintaining current ecological features and introducing further appropriate natural habitats to grow biodiversity value. That said, even the limited natural habitat and ecological features haven’t meant a total lack of protected species, as Manchester is home to badgers, barn owls, bats, great crested newts, kingfishers, little ringed plovers, peregrine falcons and water voles.

All local authorities across Greater Manchester worked in partnership with each other and the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside to create an effective biodiversity strategy, displaying an intention at the time to operate in tandem with the Environment Bill and the forthcoming Environment Act. Since the policies within the Act became law, the corresponding local councils have implemented restrictions to prevent unnecessary harm to the natural environment and promote animal and plant habitat creation, factoring in other considerations simultaneously, such as the fight against climate change.

Site Surveys for Ecological Evaluation

Before a developer can secure planning consent from the corresponding local planning authorities, a biodiversity net gain plan will need to be assembled. It will entail two measurements, starting with a calculation of the site’s existing biodiversity value based on the current natural environment and ecological assets present such as protected species of animals and plants. The second calculation will be a predicted biodiversity value of the site after the development based on conversations with the developer and the development plans.

After making comparisons between the two measurements, the ecological consultant will identify the current loss of biodiversity as a result of the planning project and then begin minimising loss to return the site back to the original standard of biodiversity. The mitigation hierarchy will play a role in ensuring that new building or restoration work does not unnecessarily infringe on present ecological features. Once the process of seeking restoration on-site has been fulfilled, the ecological surveyor will move on to initiating changes for leaving biodiversity in a measurably better state, or at least at or above the 10% increase.

Alternatively, if it isn’t feasible to fulfil biodiversity net gain on the site in Greater Manchester or the Manchester City region, it will need to be delivered off-site. It is possible to do this by purchasing biodiversity units from a habitat bank facility, which will then see the remaining BNG achieved on a different plot of land elsewhere in the country via habitat banking. Biodiversity net gain guidance will then be made available in a BNG plan, and with it, developers can pass it on to the local planning authority as proof that the rules have been followed, progressing biodiversity net gain, avoiding the likelihood that the development will be halted from moving forwards, and allowing a planning condition to be granted.

Receive a Quote from Our Team

All of the ecological surveyors in our in-house team are experts in ecology, following years of undergoing training, earning qualifications and picking up the necessary licensing. As biodiversity net gain is an approach that involves a combination of ecology and planning, the members of our team are knowledgeable about both areas, with coverage all over the country, including in Greater Manchester and the Manchester City region.

Through access to any development site, biodiversity net gain can be managed by our team with ease, allowing each ecologist to supply assessment services and produce biodiversity net gain plans to any and all clients that need one. If your development project requires net gain of biodiversity, our Greater Manchester ecology unit is on hand for delivering guidance and addressing the impact on biodiversity developers to the necessary level of detail and standard of service. With our help, you can rest assured that our team leaves biodiversity in a better state on any development projects.

Every time a developer gets in touch for a quote, we send across a valuation determined by their unique specifications. That way, each client only pays what they need to, avoiding overcharging and unfair costs. If you want a free quote for your development site in the Manchester City region or Greater Manchester area, visit our contact page and we can send across your quote before planning a date for a biodiversity net gain assessment. One of our ecologists can then decide on the necessary next steps to accomplish the mandate, as well as meet the needs of the local planning authority within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to secure planning permission.