Biodiversity Net Gain for Developers, are you ready?

Civity helps developers achieve a Biodiversity Net Gain with off-the-peg Biodiversity Credits, habitat management and consultancy.

The clock is ticking. If you want to get planning permission for your next project after the 30th November 2023, you must show a minimum Biodiversity Net Gain of 10% in support of your planning application. That is, the biodiversity liabilities caused by the development are offset by the biodiversity assets of landowners for a minimum of 30 years. We aim to mitigate the damage done to the environment by working closely with developers, landowners and local planning authorities and professional advisors.

Types of land that qualify under Biodiversity Net Gain

Most land of little or no agricultural or commercial value (except seashore land) is potentially worth Biodiversity Credits. This includes woodland, riverbanks, canals, arable land and abandoned roads or railways. The parcel (or parcels) of land must be10 hectares or more.

Planning Application Requirements

Only approved providers can issue the Biodiversity Credits.

Biodiversity Credits cannot be post-dated.

No development can commence without an approved biodiversity gain plan.

An application for planning permission must be supported by a document stating how habitats will be managed for 30 years and who is responsible for its creation/maintenance.

Local planning authorities will prioritise onsite compensation but often, an offsite offset will be required to achieve the mandatory 10% gain measured by a Biodiversity Metric.

If a developer cannot achieve a gain of 10% onsite, local authorities would prefer an alternative site within their jurisdiction over a site beyond their boundaries. However, consideration will be given to land further afield.

Developers have up to 12 months to start the offset work but it is often beneficial to start the creation/enhancement of the habitat early.

For the time being, Biodiversity Net Gain applies only to England.

*Natural England developed the Biodiversity Metric as a means of valuing habitat-based diversity. It is designed for ecologists, developers, planners and others as a way of measuring the gains and losses brought about by changes in land use and management. It must be completed by a suitably qualified and experienced ecologist

Two Routes To Biodiversity Credits

There are two routes for the Biodiversity Credits your development needs to get planning permission: DIY or a via an approved provider such as Civity.

As the diagram above shows, the DIY route goes through many stages (so it will not be quick), requires professional support (consider the fees) and ties up capital that could be better employed on the company’s core business.

The alternative is to see what Civity can offer off-the-shelf. The Journey is short; the transaction can be quick, and you have no residual risks because Civity takes them on.

The Advantages

Off-the-shelf. Civity can provide Biodiversity Credits for upcoming Planning applications as well as Consultation to ensure a smooth transit through the planning process.

Fast. The acquisition of Biodiversity Credits is much faster than purchasing suitable land.

Maintenance-free. Civity takes over the responsibility for maintaining the land for 30 years.

Asset-efficient. No need to tie up funds in the land that serves no purpose to the developer.

No risk. Civity will absorb all the legal liability and planning demands that may adversely affect wildlife habitats if they are providing of the offset value.

Expertise. Civity has its roots in ecology, biodiversity and planning.

How Civity can help developers with Biodiversity Net Gain

Civity balances the need of expanding development with our disappearing wildlife habitats. We understand the pressures on both sides of the fence. Civity is:

An ethical business helping developers.

A growing landbank that converts into Biodiversity Credits for developers.

A specialist company with a board of directors experienced in ecology, land and the residential, commercial and industrial property markets.

A consultancy that marries the science of ecology with the economics of society.

An ecological company that works closely with local planning authorities.

We also commit to reinvesting part of our company profits back into community-based projects.

Biodiversity Net Gain For Developers Free Booklet

This free booklet reveals a quick way to acquire your Biodiversity Credits you will need to obtain planning permission after 30th November 2023.


Acquiring Biodiversity Credits from Civity is much quicker and less fuss than buying your own land.

Asset - Efficient

No need to tie up funds on land that serves no further value to the you, the developer.


Civity sells Biodiversity Credits arising from the land and takes on all risks arising, leaving the developer free from the mandated 30-year obligations.

Our Top Biodiversity Net Gain FAQs For Developers

The purpose of a Biodiversity net gain guidance plan is to assess how the adverse impacts on habitats have been minimised and what steps have, or will, been taken to maintain the natural environment over 30 years. It must be submitted together with the planning permission application. It will include habitat creation, the pre-development and post-development value of the onsite habitat calculated by an ecologist using the DEFRA biodiversity metric calculator, the offsite value of the habitat if used, and any Biodiversity units purchased. Further information may be required when secondary legislation is introduced (expected November 2023).

Yes! The Environment Act Is clear that the offset should be on the development’s biodiversity net gain site if possible and, if not, as close as possible. The effect of the development projects on the biodiversity of the land must be included in delivering Biodiversity Net Gain Plan. A “Spatial Risk Multiplier” diminishes the biodiversity value of the offsite land in proportion to its distance from the development site if the offset is far removed from the development site.

It all depends on what is required. Our Biodiversity Company works with licensed and experienced ecologists offering consultancy services and/or practical support as follows:

  • Habitat creation surveys and biodiversity metric valuations.
  • Biodiversity metric calculations to establish the Biodiversity Net Gain approach required for any given site.
  • Bespoke searches and identification of offsetting opportunities for developers.
  • Implementing the creation, protection, biodiversity improvements and management of habitat creation in biodiversity offset sites.
  • Liaising with planning authorities, estate owners and other stakeholders.

Civity works closely with Local Planning Authorities; it has a wealth of knowledge of the environmental law, the planning process as well as scientific and on-the-ground experience of local ecology. All this is available to biodiversity net gain for developers through Civity’s consultancy services. We will work alongside your team to create a logical, comprehensive plan expressed in terms the planners like to see and you will understand.

It is incumbent on developers to find the Biodiversity Credits and statutory biodiversity credits needed to offset their biodiversity loss.

The biodiversity value of a piece of land is assessed in biodiversity metrics (see below). Factors influencing the valuation include:

  • The location relative to the site of biodiversity damage (e.g., the development site).
  • The location is relative to neighbouring land.
  • The site’s size. If necessary, its value can be part of an aggregated series of plots. The is 10 Hectares or more.
  • Any existing use of the land as a habitat and the condition it is in.
  • Its use by rare protected species.
  • Its proneness to exceptional weather conditions.
  • Protection from future changes in land use (section 106 or conservation covenants).

If there is a shortfall in the development’s biodiversity score, Biodiversity Credits may be bought from various sources. To find them, the developer can:

  • consult a professional advisor
  • ask the local planning authority
  • Go direct to a landowner nearby
  • Ask Civity using the form here

Or, from November 2023, Biodiversity Credits can be bought for the central government.

For More FAQs


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Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us if you are a developer interested in Biodiversity Net Gain. We are available to start a conversation to help you navigate your biodiversity net gain needs.