Biodiversity net gain is a concept that has gained traction in recent years as a way to help protect and enhance the natural environment. The idea is simple: when new development takes place, the net effect on biodiversity should be positive. This means that any loss of biodiversity that results from the development should be offset by measures that enhance biodiversity elsewhere. As of November 2023, it’s a legal requirement to achieve a minimum 10% gain, calculated using the biodiversity metric and approved by the net gain plan.
At its heart, biodiversity net gain is about ensuring that we leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it. It is a recognition that our economy and society rely on the natural world and that we must do more to protect it if we are to sustain ourselves in the long term.
As environmental consultants and contractors, we have a critical role to play in helping our clients achieve their biodiversity net gain targets. There are several ways in which we can do this.
First, we can provide expert advice on the measures that are most effective in enhancing biodiversity. This might include creating new habitats, restoring degraded habitats, or introducing measures to protect existing habitats.
Second, we can help our clients identify opportunities to incorporate biodiversity into their development plans from the outset. This might involve working closely with their designers, architects, and engineers to ensure that the development is designed in a way that maximises biodiversity, for example by incorporating green roofs, living walls, new green spaces, or enhancing and improving existing green assets.
We not only provide advisory services but also execute practical solutions on the ground. Our experienced team is equipped to undertake habitat restoration, implement biodiversity enhancement projects, and manage conservation areas. From planting native vegetation to constructing wildlife corridors, we take direct action to restore and create habitats that support diverse ecosystems. By offering both advice and implementation, we ensure a consistent and holistic approach to biodiversity net gain, delivering tangible results that contribute to a healthier and more resilient natural environment.
We can also help our clients monitor and report on their progress towards their biodiversity net gain targets. This might involve developing monitoring plans, carrying out surveys, reporting on progress to regulators, stakeholders, and the public, and ultimately assisting them in meeting and preferably exceeding their short-, mid-, and long-term objectives and obligations.
Biodiversity net gain is an essential concept that is increasingly recognised as vital for protecting the natural environment. By providing expert advice, identifying opportunities for biodiversity enhancement, assisting with legal compliance, and executing the work, we can help ensure that new development and the maintenance of current contracts leave the natural environment in a better state than it found it.