Civity has a growing landbank suitable for developers showing a Biodiversity Net Gain to obtain planning permission. We are qualified to survey and value land in Biodiversity Metrics, sell Biodiversity Units and preserve and create wildlife habitats.
In January 2024, the Environment Act 2021
comes into force. It will be mandatory for developers to show at least a Biodiversity Net Gain of 10%: the difference between the biodiversity value of the land before and after development. Planning permission will not be granted without a 10% biodiversity gain valued by a qualified ecologist at the time of application.
Our landbank is a source of Biodiversity Units available to developers to offset the impacts they cannot deal with on-site, an opportunity for landowners to make financial gains from unprofitable land and support local planning authorities with biodiversity consultation if and when required. Perhaps the greatest benefit is to the environment; Civity is an established ecologist company helping to preserve the land for the future of wildlife and mankind in this country.
Since Biodiversity Net Gain will be fixed as a mandated standard in law, it becomes central to the consideration of all development proposals.
Imperfect market conditions prevail, hence the need for an expert integrator of interests to maximise the natural capital benefits from Biodiversity Net Gain.
That’s where we come in.
Developers can create their own Biodiversity Units by buying suitable land and managing it as an approved wildlife habitat for a minimum of 30 years which would tie up funds better used for the core purpose of their business.
Or they may prefer to deal with a company like Civity, which is approved to sell Biodiversity Units. This option would be free of risks, obligations, tied-up assets and ongoing costs over the 30-year period demanded by law.
Many landowners will have pockets of unprofitable land already acting as sanctuaries for wildlife or land that could be easily managed to create new habitats. Civity will become your tenants, guaranteeing a long-term lease of pockets of land of 10 hectares or more. In addition, we enter into a contractual agreement with you to create and manage habitats on your land and pay you for doing this. As your consultant, Civity will hold your hand throughout and take any liability for the sale of units, monitoring and reporting.
The Environment Act imposes additional burdens on planners. From January 2024, developers must show a 10% increase in Biodiversity Net Gain units before planning permission is granted. Civity has been a leading player in forming a commercial market for unitss and can support planners in reconciling their responsibilities under the new law with minimum compromise and maximum benefit to the community.
Biodiversity Net Gain is a measure of the variety of wildlife in a natural environment, essential for developers and effective land management. It’s a measure of how rich in species an area is, or how much rare or innately valuable wildlife is present in the natural environment. A Biodiversity Net Gain is the difference between the ecological loss caused by a development’s land take and the compensating ecological gain on the same or on other sites. It is a crucial aspect of the Environment Act 2021, emphasising the need for developers to consider sustainable land management practices that contribute to deliver biodiversity net gain, including efforts to create wildlife habitats. The principal aim of this act is to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was. Planning permission for qualifying building development can be granted without proof of a minimum 10% Biodiversity Net Gain, underscoring the significance of developers’ commitment to responsible land management that includes delivering biodiversity net gain.
When development projects takes place, there is always some damage to the ecology of the site. The Environment Act 2021 makes it mandatory from January 2024 to compensate for resulting biodiversity loss. The compensation can be done by creating new habitats or enhancing the value of existing habitats. When this compensation is done offsite, away from the development site, it is called a Biodiversity Offset.
The UK’s increasing population has made corresponding demands on developers, land managers, and existing habitats. This now seriously affects our lives and the ecology of our wildlife, so the government has intervened, not just to halt further decline, but to build, repair, and maintain habitats and to help preserve the environment for future generations.
Biodiversity Offsets present an opportunity to pool significant resources from multiple developments into large, well-designed, and strategic habitat creation projects. This approach, in line with the biodiversity net gain approach and local nature recovery strategies, will result in the creation of ‘bigger, better, and more joined up’ ecological networks for our wildlife habitats, enhancing the connectivity of existing habitats.
If a development site is unable to produce a 10% increase in the difference between its pre- and post-biodiversity value on site, it must offset the loss by acquiring Biodiversity Units elsewhere. Under the terms of The Environment Act, the gain should be onsite and, if this is impossible, close to the development site. If that is not possible, Biodiversity Units may be bought further afield but their value may be reduced.
Biodiversity Metric 4.0 is a biodiversity accounting tool created by Natural England that can be used for the purposes of calculating Biodiversity Net Gain. It is a key tool that supports the delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain and is used to calculate the baseline biodiversity value of a site in terms of biodiversity units, and forecast its future biodiversity value. It is the standard biodiversity measurement designed for use by ecologists, developers, planners, and other interested parties.
Biodiversity Net Gain differs from previous local plans laws in that the Environmental Act 2021 makes the biodiversity gain mandatory. The mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain is legally secured between two (or more) consenting parties, private or public, using a Section 106 agreement (securing the land for biodiversity purposes) or a Conservation Covenant.
This is the major change to the Planning rules: The Environment Act sets out a ‘general condition’ that should be applied to all planning permission applications, requiring a Biodiversity Gain plan to be submitted and approved before the start of development, ensuring that biodiversity net gain requirements are achieved on site.
DEFRA and Natural England are preparing a ‘site register’ of approved biodiversity offsetting land. This register may be formed by multiple different providers, including landowners themselves, private brokers, land banks, or local planning authorities.
The ultimate gain is for the environment. The time has come for everyone. Who uses the environment for self-interest to make a significant contribution for its preservation. For developers, a making Biodiversity Net Gain of 10% minimum is a mandatory requirement to obtain planning permission from the local planning authority; for landowners, unproductive land can produce a revenue stream in the form of rent and management funding for 30 years without loss of access. Together, developers and landowners can dovetail their interests for the benefit of future generations.
Local Planning Authorities
Please contact us if you’d like to start a conversation about how our company can assist you with your Biodiversity Net Gain needs