Today (Wednesday July 7) Natural England (NE) launched three new tools to help developers measure the net gain in biodiversity and ensure new developments are ‘nature positive’.
Where development impacts biodiversity, it will ensure that development is carried out in a way that helps restore any loss of biodiversity and seeks to provide thriving natural spaces for local communities.
As proposed in the environmental bill, the net gain in biodiversity should be measured using a recognized biodiversity metric. New Biodiversity Metric 3.0 provide a means to measure and account for losses and gains in nature resulting from development or changes in land management.
Also announced today at an online event hosted by Natural England is the Small Site Metric (SSM), a beta version designed to simplify the process of calculating the net biodiversity gain at smaller development sites. the Environmental Benefits of Nature Tool (EBNT) was also launched to give developers a way to explore the benefits that habitats provide to people, such as improved water quality, flood management services, and carbon storage.
Natural England President Tony Juniper said:
Investing in restoring nature is a vital national priority. These innovative new tools will help advance this ambition through the development planning process, ensuring that we leave the natural environment – both land and sea – in a measurably better state than it was before.
In addition to benefiting nature, the net gain in biodiversity can also provide better access to nature where people live and work, and can streamline the planning process by objectively and transparently quantifying biodiversity losses and gains. .
Biodiversity Metric 3.0 will become the industry standard biodiversity metric for all types of terrestrial and intertidal development in England, becoming a requirement for ecological consultants, developers, local planning authorities, landowners and more by the through the environmental bill.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
With biodiversity declining at an unprecedented rate, we must act to stop and reverse the losses. We are committed to implementing a development approach that will leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than before. To do this, we will legislate for a mandatory net biodiversity gain through the environmental bill.
We are excited to present the updated Biodiversity Metric 3.0, which will support the future mandatory net biodiversity gain requirement and help facilitate investment in nature recovery through clean, green growth that brings nature to life. the people’s door.
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said:
Protecting and improving the environment will be at the heart of our planning reforms that will provide the new homes the country needs.
The land use planning bill will establish a clear set of rules – from where communities want homes to be built, to high design and environmental standards that must be met – while complementing the commitments we let’s take in the environmental bill.
This includes the obligation for the vast majority of homes and developments to achieve at least a 10% net gain in biodiversity value, ensuring that new developments improve the environment, contribute to our ecological networks and preserve our precious landscapes.
A government consultation on secondary legislation and regulations relating to net biodiversity gains is due to be launched later this year.
The new tools have received input from experts from Natural England, Defra and industry to support the government’s commitment to the 25-year environmental plan to scale up net gain approaches to deliver broader benefits to people and nature through development.
The government’s 25-year environmental plan encourages progress towards a net environmental gain for all residential and infrastructure projects and is a key component of our landmark environmental bill, which will ensure that the environment is at the heart. of all government policies, including zero by 2050.
More information :
- The net gain in biodiversity does not replace existing legal or authorization requirements for habitat or species and should not be applied to offset impacts on irreplaceable habitat features.
- Developed by the University of Oxford with input from experts from across the Defra family, the EBNT provides a tool to help inform decision-making and improve design and development outcomes, signaling relative changes in provision of ecosystem services to mark areas for further consideration.
- The new Biodiversity Metric 3.0 will be available on Natural England’s Access to Evidence site, as a primary forum for sharing the metric and the accompanying tool and documentation. Citizenspace provides the platform for the SSM consultation document, available here.
- the EKN Network provides updates to organizations interested in natural capital.