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Delay to implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain rules

View profile for Tom Bell
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At the end of September, the Government set out its revised timetable for implementing its much-anticipated requirements for ensuring new developments deliver a 10% biodiversity net gain (“BNG”). In particular the Government announced that the BNG regulations and requirements that had been expected to be implemented in November 2023, have now been delayed to January 2024 to allow time for necessary legislation to be passed.

Simply put, BNG rules will ultimately require developers to ensure their developments result in a net 10% improvement to the natural environment by either incorporating onsite features into the development or an off-site habitat and, if neither of these are possible, by buying biodiversity units or credits.  

Although the Government’s delay is likely to ensure a more ordered transition, the delay and the subsequent uncertainty it appears to have caused has been met with concern from certain developers and the wider property construction industry.

The delay to the implementation of the BNG regulations reflects the lack of clarity there has been to date relating to these changes with various interested parties (including developers, local planning authorities and professional advisors) waiting for a much clearer picture of what the requirements will actually involve.

Landowners who may be able to sell biodiversity units are also now having to wait to see what this market may look like and how it will operate.

Hopefully the promised guidance and regulations that the Government has committed to publish by the end of November are delivered on time and are clear to enable everyone involved to understand and achieve their obligations under the BNG rules and ultimately to make a positive difference to our natural environments.

Finally, it is perhaps worth noting that the timescales for implementation of BNG rules relating to smaller developments in April 2024 does not appear to have been affected yet, however, it will be interesting to see whether the Government make any further amendments to the proposed timetable in due course.

About the author

Based at our offices in Worcester, Tom Bell is a Senior Associate within our award-winning Agricultural and Rural Affairs Division.

If you require any advice relating to any rural-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact Tom through 01905 610410, or email