HBF responds to Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain requirement

12 Feb, 2024

HBF responds to Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain requirement

Government's Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) mandate came into force today, Monday 12 February, requiring developers to achieve a minimum 10% BNG on new residential sites across England.

While the intention of the mandate aligns with home builders' ongoing efforts to protect and enhance natural environments, the impact on an already complex planning system mustn't be overlooked. Delays securing planning consent are already considered a significant barrier to the delivery of much-needed homes - with 93% of SME home builders identifying planning delays as a major barrier to growth.

Local Authorities need to ensure there is sufficient capacity in their teams to process BNG effectively or we will see further delays in the planning process.

Sam Stafford, Planning Director at the HBF said: “Home builders have embraced the principle of Biodiversity Net Gain and are committed to creating places that protect and enhance the natural environment.  

"BNG is already being achieved on developments across the country, delivering significant benefits to residents and the environment. However, operational challenges must not be underestimated. Ensuring there are viable options available - particular for small sites - is vital and expectations must be managed as this new way of working beds in.

“Whilst the developers of larger sites have been increasingly including BNG on their developments, for smaller sites, where it is not possible to deliver on-site solutions, there is a reliance on off-site credits, the availability of which is a challenge in some areas, with the market still in its infancy.

“We also need to ensure there is sufficient capacity in local authority planning departments to manage BNG. Delays in the planning process are already a major constraint on development. BNG adds further complexity to the process and without adequate resourcing, further delays are inevitable.

“While it is disappointing that some gaps in Government guidance were not addressed to support industry and LPA readiness ahead of the requirements coming into play, we stand ready to help navigate inevitable teething problems and ultimately make the transition as smooth as possible."

HBF has published BNG FAQs to the website and will maintain this page as new information and resources are released.

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