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Biodiversity Net Gain

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is an approach to development and/or land management, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand.

From April 2024 the vast majority of new planning applications for development in England, including residential, commercial, and industrial developments, must achieve an at least 10% BNG uplift within their project.

The BNG value and potential of land is calculated by Ecologists or similar professionals using habitats as a proxy for relative diversity of species present - biodiversity.

Brown&Co’s in-house ecology, environment, and natural capital teams offer the full suite of BNG services and solutions needed to guide clients through the process from start to finish.

How can Brown&Co help?

We have a team of experts working throughout England including Agri-Environmental Consultants, Land Agents, Natural Capital Consultants, Planning Consultants and Development Surveyors who are able to provide a complete and joined up BNG solution both to developers and offset providers. 

We manage an inhouse register of requirements and offset available.  


Our services include:

Landowners and land managers

  • Initial habitat surveying for BNG value.
  • Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan.
  • Administration and logistical support on joining Natural England’s offsite register.
  • Online platform services for advertising BNG units for sale.


  • BNG Assessment.
  • Defra Statutory Metric calculations.
  • Linking with offsite unit providers.
  • Support with habitat establishment and enhancement to meet BNG obligations.


What legislation is driving this?

The National Planning Policy Framework states that;

  • Planning policy should provide net gains in biodiversity
  • Plans should enhance habitats and prioritise biodiversity improvements local to the development
  • Development whose primary objective is to enhance biodiversity should be supported.

Primarily set-out in the Environment Act 2021 and associated Defra guidance, this new BNG obligation implores new developments to create, enhance, or extend habitats within their site to achieve BNG within their project footprint. As of 12th February 2024, it is mandatory that most planning applications demonstrate how the scheme will provide a 10% uplift in biodiversity.

How is Biodiversity Net Gain calculated?

The current Defra metric is used to calculate the number of biodiversity credits based on the types of onsite habitat. There are three separate areas of focus; Habitat, Hedges and Rivers. These are not interchangeable, a net gain on habitat, but a net loss on hedges would mean rejection by the local planning authority.

In order to understand what a 10% uplift is based on, a baseline assessment needs to be undertaken. This would involve classifying the habitat type by area and then undertaking a conditional assessment of each sub block of habitat within the development boundary.

This will culminate into a Biodiversity Net Gain unit total for the site.

Where can credits come from?

The management of an existing habitat must be improved, or new habitat created in order to generate credits to fulfil the BNG requirement for a development.

Credits can either be delivered on the development site, Offsite within the local area, or via purchasing National Credits. It is intended that the purchase of National Credits will be the most expensive and therefore the least preferred option by developers.

How long is a Biodiversity Net Gain Commitment?

Biodiversity Net Gain commitments are to be secured for 30 years through either a planning condition or via a Conservation Covenant.

Why is Biodiversity Net Gain so important for Landowners & Developers?

Listen to Land Agent, Tim Atkinson discuss the positives of Biodiversity Net Gain, outlining its significance for both landowners and developers and how they can work together to maximise this opportunity going forwards.

To register your BNG or NN requirement please contact or

To discuss please contact one of our BNG team or the relevant office.

View our BNG Services Guide

View The Guide

Senior Ecologist, Associate

St Neots

Partner, Head of Architecture & Planning


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Partner, Agricultural Business Consultancy

St Neots

Agricultural Environmental Consultant, Divisional Partner


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Partner, Land Agency


Partner, Land Agency

King's Lynn
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