Biodiversity Net Gain now applicable to small developments

Biodiversity net gain has applied to major developments since February, and from today also applies to small developments across England.

Sheffield from above

Under the Schedule 7A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, developers will be required from today, to deliver a mandatory minimum uplift of 10% biodiversity net gain on all small developments.

Small developments are defined as:

  • Residential development scaled between 1 and 9 houses, on a site of an area 1 hectare or less, or if the number of dwellings is unknown, the site area is less than 0.5 hectares
  • Commercial development where floor space created is less than 1,000 square metres or total site area is less than 1 hectare 
  • Development that is not the winning and working of minerals or the use of land for mineral-working deposits and that is not waste development 

The BNG process is the same for small and major developments but there are additional resources available for developers to ensure all can meet their biodiversity net gain requirements. There is a also simplified version of the statutory biodiversity metric calculation tool – the Small Sites Metric (SSM) calculation tool which calculates biodiversity value for biodiversity net gain.

BNG legislation means that new developments will have to increase biodiversity compared to what was previously on site in order to provide nature-friendly developments that are good for residents, wider communities and biodiversity. BNG makes sure that habitats for wildlife are left in a measurably better state than they were before the development.