The Biodiversity Net Gain Journey

Updated 2 August 2023. This page provides an overview of the PAS experience of biodiversity net gain and defines the "journey" that local authorities are taking to operationalise it, providing links to further resources and good practice.

Our experience of working alongside local authorities has led us believe that biodiversity net gain (BNG), and getting to the point where net gain can be delivered, is a journey for local authorities.

A local authority may start this journey at different points, depending on factors like local plan status, available resources and expertise or political and corporate priorities. To meet the statutory minimum required when BNG becomes mandatory (expected to be in January 2024 for major TCPA development), an authority will need to be ready to receive and determine planning applications that deliver at least 10% biodiversity net gain, as measured by the Biodiversity Metric. However, to realise the full benefits of BNG and optimise its potential, a local authority will also want to think about some of the other steps we outline below.

We have set this out as a diagram that we hope will help local authorities in developing their approach to BNG. Feedback on how we can best support local authorities on this journey and the content of these pages is welcomed! Please email Beccy Moberly

Graphic with boxes showing a progression for delivery of biodiversity net gain from a legal minimum of being able to determine planning applications with 10% biodiversity net gain up to a Local Plan that evidences mitigation choices and means BNG is optimised to deliver wider benefits
PAS Biodiversity Net Gain Journey for Local Authorities

We have also been thinking about what this means for local authorities in terms of where to focus their activity and what work needs doing. We think there are seven key areas of activity for local authorities on this BNG journey:

  • Corporate embedding of BNG as a priority
  • Development of place-making principles around BNG
  • Development of local strategy and evidence
  • Embedding in Local Plans and Strategic Planning
  • Establishing Development Management arrangements
  • Delivery of schemes
  • Monitoring and reporting of progress

Defra have also set out 10 actions local planning authorities can take to prepare for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) and we have drafted a BNG readiness checklist to to help LPAs structure an approach to preparing for mandatory BNG. A recording of a session in July 2023 on BNG for Planners which PAS's Beccy Moberly contributed to with The Planner and Environment Bank is available on The Planner website.

We have resources available on: Biodiversity Net Gain in Local Plans and Development Management, including examples from local authorities implementing BNG now.