Our response to the Biodiversity Net Gain Regulations and Implementation consultation

06 April 2022

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has been consulting on proposed exemptions under a soon to be mandated requirement for developers in England.

Biodiversity Net Gain will apply to developers seeking planning permission for development and will require that habitats for wildlife are left in a measurably better state than they were in prior to development.

The government is proposing whether to consider brownfield sites not exempt from the requirement due to their generally low levels of pre-development biodiversity.

Summary of our response

We worked with members to inform our response which focuses on the key issues facing our members in delivering affordable housing, and responded to the following:

  • Defining the scope of the biodiversity net gain requirement for Town and Country Planning Act 1990 development.
  • Applying the biodiversity gain objective to different types of development.
  • How the mandatory biodiversity net gain requirement will work for Town and Country Planning Act 1990 development.

The National Housing Federation supports the exemptions proposed in this consultation and is pleased that brownfield sites will be included for net gain requirements.

Where a simplified 'smaller sites' metric has been proposed, we are concerned that the simplified system would still result in a disproportionate amount of work and costs for NHF members. We support an extended transition period to review further potential options for reducing the burden on smaller sites.

We are concerned about potential delays that the new requirements may cause at planning stage but we would support the involvement of independent experts in assessments and informing the biodiversity net gain information needed.

Full response

Member only

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Who to speak to

Marie Chadwick, Policy Leader