Biodiversity Net Gain Plans in the South East

Under new planning requirements, biodiversity net gain must amount to an increase of 10% on your development site. Our ecologists are situated throughout the country, meaning that we are able to attend your South East site to conduct an assessment and develop a BNG plan.

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South East England Environmental Quality

A governmental overview of the current state of the environment in South East England detailed the biodiversity value within the region and all corresponding counties therein. As with all reports for regions across England, the primary categories for concern include air quality and water quality, climate change, cumulative effects, disturbance, general biodiversity, marine litter and protected areas, non-native invasive species, and underwater noise.

In terms of the impacts on biodiversity in the South East, pollution in the air primarily comes from Dover, Medway and Ramsgate, protected species include cetaceans, seals and tentacled lagoon-worms, and with connections to the English Channel, a predominant number of habitats in the region are located in marine areas. Throughout multiple sections of the report, biodiversity net gain (BNG) is referenced as a pivotal factor that will contribute to retention of existing ecological features and enhancement of biodiversity value as a whole.

Growing in relevance over recent years, biodiversity net gain (BNG) is a planning policy that forces developers to not only maintain the same level of biodiversity after the completion of developments, but increase the biodiversity value by a further 10%. Despite a two-year transition period that gives developers and local authorities leeway to adjust to the policy, BNG will eventually become mandatory, meaning that South East England and the corresponding counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex will need to comply.

Local Authorities Situated Across the South East

Before a local planning authority will even consider an application for planning consent, demonstration of adherence to biodiversity net gain will be needed. To help with satisfying the correct local council, all of the borough, city, county and district authorities within South East England are listed by county below:

Berkshire

  • Berkshire County Council
  • Bracknell Forest Borough Council
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Slough Borough Council
  • West Berkshire Council
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council
  • Wokingham Borough Council

Buckinghamshire

  • Aylesbury Vale District Council
  • Buckinghamshire County Council
  • Chiltern District Council
  • Milton Keynes Council
  • South Bucks District Council
  • Wycombe District Council

East Sussex

  • East Sussex County Council
  • Eastbourne Borough Council
  • Hastings Borough Council
  • Lewes District Council
  • Rother District Council
  • Wealden District Council

Hampshire

  • Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
  • East Hampshire District Council
  • Eastleigh Borough Council
  • Fareham Borough Council
  • Gosport Borough Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Hart District Council
  • Havant Borough Council
  • New Forest District Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Rushmoor Borough Council
  • Southampton City Council
  • Test Valley Borough Council
  • Winchester City Council

Isle of Wight

  • Isle of Wight Council

Kent

  • Ashford Borough Council
  • Canterbury City Council
  • Dartford Borough Council
  • Dover District Council
  • Folkestone and Hythe District Council
  • Gravesham Borough Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Maidstone Borough Council
  • Sevenoaks District Council
  • Swale Borough Council
  • Thanet District Council
  • Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Oxfordshire

  • Cherwell District Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • South Oxfordshire District Council
  • Vale of White Horse District Council
  • West Oxfordshire District Council

Surrey

  • Elmbridge Borough Council
  • Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
  • Guildford Borough Council
  • Mole Valley District Council
  • Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
  • Runnymede Borough Council
  • Surrey County Council
  • Surrey Heath Borough Council
  • Tandridge District Council
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • Woking Borough Council

West Sussex

  • Arun District Council
  • Chichester District Council
  • Crawley Borough Council
  • Horsham District Council
  • Mid Sussex Council
  • West Sussex County Council

Connection Between BNG and Planning

Included within the Environment Act 2021, biodiversity net gain is a concept that will apply to the majority of development projects in England moving forwards. For BNG to work successfully, however, two measurements of biodiversity value must be taken to gauge a deficit between the two figures – one for current biodiversity value on the site pre-development and another for predicted biodiversity value on the site post-development.

Over the ongoing two-year transition period, developers and local councils are given time to adjust to the change in planning policy. That said, local authorities are able to begin rolling out BNG at any time, with many already insisting that developers demonstrate integration of biodiversity net gain into their planning project in both current and future developments.

Surveying and Reporting on Biodiversity Net Gain

First referenced in the 2018 spring statement, the BNG policy became a part of legislation in November 2021. From inception to initiation, biodiversity net gain rapidly turned into an applicable policy for developments in England, leaving developers chasing their tails as they attempt to fully comprehend the nature of the policy and the effects it could have on future projects.

Likewise, many ecological consultancies have also had to adapt quickly to the change or face a feeling of uncertainty over the ins and outs of the BNG policy. Within our consultancy, however, our ecologists have kept a close eye on biodiversity net gain from the original unveiling of it as a concept to current implementation on development sites. Through a comprehensive knowledge of BNG and broader ecology, our ecological consultants are capable of satisfying the demand of the policy in the eyes of the local planning authority, boosting applications for planning consent in the process.

Organise a BNG Assessment Now

An advisable approach for all developers staging projects in England would be to treat biodiversity net gain as if it were already enforceable, regardless of time or location. That way, if any issues regarding BNG appear later into the process, you will be covered and won’t have to make potentially significant alterations to the project in order to meet the requirements of the mandate.

Featuring extensive information about your project and crucial next steps that will satisfy the requirements of biodiversity net gain, our BNG plans will provide your local planning authority with everything they need to grant planning permission on your site. Your planning officer will view a BNG plan as trustworthy and credible information, and use it as the basis for decisions regarding planning applications.

Removing any unnecessary stress from the process, we will give you a free quote once you pass on details about your site and project. You can contact us by filling out our quote form online or calling us over the phone. We can then send across a no-obligation quote, and if you are happy to work with us, send it back and we can work with you to choose a suitable date to visit your site, analyse all ecological features, develop a BNG plan, and obtain a planning condition for your project.