Biodiversity Requirement 2023

What is the Biodiversity Requirement?

The Environment Act 2021 which was passed last November stated that going forward it will be a mandatory requirement for new constructions and builds to increase the biodiversity value of the environment. This increase has been titled the ‘biodiversity net gain’ (BNG).

It is expected that from the latter half of 2023, new construction plans will be required to deliver a 10% increase in biodiversity value through habitat enhancements.

The increase will be calculated using the biodiversity metric - a habitat-based system applied when assessing an area’s value to wildlife. Habitat features are used to calculate a biodiversity value.

Linked with the BNG with various other agendas such as discussing the climate emergency and taking appropriate actions, planning, and developing more green infrastructures, ensuring everyone’s physical and mental well-being; giving everyone more access to green areas and nature, flood prevention and improving air quality.

What is Biodiversity?

The term ‘biodiversity,’ derived from the phrase "biological diversity", refers to the expanse of living beings on Earth. This includes animals, fungi, bacteria and more – any organic being. a high level of these beings is considered to be vital and desirable.

How Does the BNG Requirement Work?

Once your planning permission has been approved, as per the planning condition you will need to submit your biodiversity gain plan which will need to be approved by the necessary authorities before you can legally start any kind of development.

The biodiversity gain plan will need to have assessed the state and value of natural habitats on the site of development before and after construction and to male sire that at minimum, a 10% gain is achieved between the two values.

Why is the Biodiversity Requirement Important?

Climate change is a big factor as to why these changes are made. Steps must be taken to ensure that we are being as sustainable as possible and the Biodiversity Requirement ensures that even as we construct more new buildings and developments, we do so in a manner that is not detrimental to the environment.

Another factor as to why the Requirement is important is because, after leaving the EU, there were some discrepancies in our national legislation in regard to protecting the environment. That is why it was important to implement the 2021 Environment Act and to fill in any gaps that were created during the transition.

As we all are aware, climate change and pollution have a detrimental effect not just on the environment, but on our well-being as well. The Environment Act particularly wants to reduce concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5), the most harmful pollutant to human health, and in order to do so, the BGN must be kept at high levels for as long as possible.

Finally, it is really important that the BGN can be measured in a reliable way and therefore we can quantify and measure whether things are improving so we can continue what we are doing or worsening, which is when we can start to figure out how to improve.

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