Will Biodiversity Net Gain benefit the landscape community?

As of the 12th of February, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) will mandate the assessment of habitats on development land and require this habitat to be enhanced by a minimum of 10%.

Insect on leaf
Photo by S N Pattenden on Unsplash

In an in-depth article, the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), explains the concept of the BNG in detail, but more importantly highlights the potential benefits for the landscape industry.

According to BALI, BNG is a step in the right direction in terms of “mitigating land lost to development of all sizes and has the potential to conserve and improve the overall quality of important habitats”. The landscape industry is perfectly placed to take on the work arising from BNG, as it will require the broad range of skills offered by the industry. BALI finds that there is potential to benefit every member of the landscape and wider environmental community, from ecologists to designers, suppliers to contractors.

That is, say BALI depending on the whether the statutory agencies will be granted adequate power to “police non-conformance” and ensure realistic budgets to create and maintain sites.

In the article, the potential benefits to the landscape and environmental industries that are likely to arise from BNG process are described as:

  • Provision of ecological services for the assessment of development sites for planning and delivery of biodiversity gain plans. Note, habitat surveys and use of the biodiversity metric must be undertaken by ‘competent persons’ – such as ecologists.
  • Habitat designs for: (a) developers (on-site projects or off-site) and (b) third-party land owners looking to sell BNG units to developers
  • Creation of habitats for developers/landowners using materials, products and skilled labour.
  • Site monitoring, maintenance and management which would include regular skilled maintenance of all living aspects including replacement of failed specimens and damaged products.

As habitats created under the BNG scheme must be secured for a minimum of 30 years, it is highly likely that regular, skilled assessment and maintenance will be in demand throughout England. Landscape professionals of all disciplines should benefit from the demand for skilled maintenance work on sites, either on developer-led sites or off-site for private enterprises.

The full article, covering the details of BNG, BNG currency (units & credits), BNG plans, habitat creation and trading units can be read here.