BNG Plans in Surrey

Manage your Surrey development within the rules and regulations of biodiversity net gain (BNG) by referring to our team for a BNG Plan.

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Evidence of Biodiversity Net Gain

Since February 2024, the biodiversity net gain (BNG) policy has been an active part of the law, impacting the majority of development projects and planning applications. It comes from the Environment Act 2021 and focuses specifically on improving the condition of the natural environment within the affected development site to a better state once the development has concluded.

By assessing the site, anticipating the likely impact on the ecological value and considering biodiversity opportunity areas, an ecologist can work out how to execute BNG successfully. Without intervention from an expert, it won’t be possible to achieve the policy, and that will only lead to setbacks in terms of potentially lengthy delays, severe penalties and issues with obtaining planning consent.

After a teething period that allowed developers and local councils to adjust to the policy, BNG became mandatory, meaning that all of the local authorities of Surrey County Council, Elmbridge Borough Council, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council, Mole Valley District Council, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Tandridge District Council, Waverly Borough Council and Woking Borough Council had to enforce it.

Surrey’s Thriving Environment and Countless Rural Features

Containing more than 70 wildlife sites, 42 local nature reserves and four national nature reserves, Surrey is a predominantly rural part of England. It is home to the Surrey Hills, 2,000 miles of public paths, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the five main habitat types of chalk grassland, downland, heathland, woodland and waterways.

In any space as green as Surrey, it is to be expected that an abundance of protected species will be present, including adders, bats, common lizards, freshwater crayfish, grass snakes, palmate newts and water voles. The Surrey Wildlife Trust provides protection to listed animals and plants in the county, and in partnership with the Surrey Nature Partnership and with the intervention of the local nature recovery strategy (LNRS) and the local plan policy, a lot of obstacles stand between the average developer and succeeding in meeting the BNG requirements.

Calculating Biodiversity Value

Guarantees that BNG will work are only viable through hiring an ecological consultant to create a biodiversity net gain plan. The process starts with a full local-level inspection of the site to account for all rare or valuable species of animals and plants. Once added to the DEFRA biodiversity metric, a pre-development value will be taken, with a second predicted based on the development plans to establish the post-development value.

Both readings will be combined to decipher if there is any deficit between the two, and if there is, what needs to be done to eliminate it and grow biodiversity value by a further 10%. A predetermined mitigation hierarchy will be used to decide if ecological assets will be retained, relocated or destroyed to cater to the proposed development. If it simply isn’t feasible to achieve mandatory biodiversity net gain on the site, a backup option would be to purchase the same quantity of biodiversity units as biodiversity credits from a designated landowner as part of off-site BNG.

Whether biodiversity net gain is achieved on-site or off-site, the BNG plan created afterwards will inform and direct the local planning authorities. Formed of two parts, it will involve a report side for detailing the outcome of the assessment and a plan side for explaining how the mandate will be met. By displaying all of the information from the survey and clear steps of how to move forward, the document will help with obtaining a successful application for planning permission.

Weigh Up Your Options Today

Ensuring compliance with the Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Surrey Nature Partnership, the Biodiversity Working Group, the local nature recovery strategy and the local plan policy, our team can make sure your development works within the parameters of biodiversity net gain. Between on-site and off-site changes, we can do whatever is necessary to grow the number of biodiversity units for your project in Surrey.

If it turns out that you need practices designed to encourage sustainable development and fight climate change, such as carbon sequestration, natural flood management and any applicable local nature recovery strategies, we will know what to do. Ask for a quote by speaking to our team, filling out a quote form, calling us or emailing us, and once we’ve taken down your details, we can conduct an assessment, create a BNG plan and help your development.