How to Get Your Land Biodiversity Net Gain Ready?

December 4, 2023 | Gigi Hennessy

Credit Sarah Davison

A 10% uplift in biodiversity units for all major developments will be legally required in November of this year (2023). Many developers will try and achieve this uplift on the development site.

However, there will be situations where this isn’t possible, and they will have to offset this deficit in units by purchasing those created by others. This poses a significant opportunity for landowners to get paid for improving the quality of habitats on their land for nature.

However, what steps do landowners need to take before November to ensure their land is ready and they have BNG units to sell to interested developers?

The first step is understanding what the current  ‘state’ of your land is, and the kinds of actions you may be able to take on it to improve biodiversity. These include the creation of hedgerows, ponds, or sowing a species rich grassland. New habitats don’t always need to be created. Existing habitats may be able to be improved through changes in management.

It’s recommended you have a conversation with experts on BNG in your local area, such as conservation and environmental organisations, land agents and ecology firms. These groups will be able to advice if your land is suitable for BNG. If yes, the next step is getting a BNG baseline assessment done.

This will tell you how many units you currently have on your land, and how many units you could potentially create, with a management plan created to describe how the unit creation will take place and how the land needs to be maintained for the next 30 years.

This baseline assessment and management plan are key as this will allow you to begin advertising and selling units to developers once BNG becomes mandatory in November. Or in some cases before, as some developments are already purchasing BNG units voluntarily. You can then advertise these units on Net Gain Staffordshire, making them visible to developers across the county.

If you are in the position to begin enacting the management plan before you sell your units, this is a major positive because habitats created or improved in advance of sale generate more ‘biodiversity units’, therefore starting habitat works early could benefit you longer term. However, this is not a requirement and units can be sold before they are created.

If you’re not ready to invest in having a BNG baseline assessment done, you can still upload your land onto Net Gain Staffordshire to show developers that you may be interested in selling units.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust can conduct these BNG baseline assessments and create the required management plans. If this is something you are interested in, please get in touch.

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Contact us today to get started on the process. If you have any questions we will be more than happy to advise.

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Gigi Hennessy

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