BNG potential revealed in new housing data

Meeting housing targets could create more than 123,000 football pitches of natural habitat over the next five years, according to new research.

Related topics:  Construction,  Environment,  BNG,  House Builders
Property | Reporter
2nd February 2024
Bio Diversity 713
"This analysis clearly demonstrates the sheer potential of BNG, and how nature recovery can and will be a central part of housing development."
- Robin McArthur - Joe’s Blooms

With both the Conservative Party and Labour pledging to build 300,000 new homes each year, new research based on an analysis of the Government’s Net Gain Impact Assessment shows that if these targets are met, it would create an additional 44,500 football pitches of natural habitat and avoid the loss of 78,500 football pitches of biodiverse land over the next five years.

This is the equivalent of securing an area the size of Leeds (55,000 hectares) and Birmingham (26,000 hectares) combined in green spaces.

The increase in biodiversity is down to Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), a first-of-its-kind planning policy requiring developers in England to invest in measures in their development’s local area that will increase biodiversity by 10% to secure planning permission.

Local planning authorities will play a central role in delivering BNG, ensuring developers meet a 10% uplift in biodiversity as part of the planning process. A number of councils are already implementing BNG on a voluntary basis. Plymouth City Council approved a decision in March 2023 to create a habitat banking vehicle in line with BNG requirements, which it expects will generate a net benefit of £175,000 each year for 30 years.

With 274 English councils having declared a climate emergency, the research shows BNG will play a major role in boosting natural habitats across the country and supporting local authorities to overcome environmental challenges.

Robin McArthur, Chair of the Joe’s Blooms Advisory Board, said: “This analysis clearly demonstrates the sheer potential of BNG, and how nature recovery can and will be a central part of housing development.

"It’s now time to focus on preparation, and there’s a host of digital tools like Joe’s Blooms available to support LPAs in implementing BNG to its fullest. Working together, communities will see wildlife enriched with more green space, improving residents’ health and well-being, and boosting long-term income opportunities through green investments.”

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