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  • Writer's pictureArnav Kele

Biodiversity Net Gain

How Biodiversity Net Gain Policies are building a sustainable future for the UK

Biodiversity is the foundation of our planet's natural systems, supporting human life through the provision of ecosystem services like food, water, and air. However, the rapid loss of biodiversity across the globe threatens our ability to maintain these services and create a sustainable future. To address this issue, the UK government has introduced the concept of biodiversity net gain, which requires developers to ensure that new developments result in a measurable net gain in biodiversity compared to the pre-development baseline.


Biodiversity net gain is a crucial policy for promoting sustainability and green development in the UK. It is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 15, which calls for the protection, restoration, and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. The UK government has introduced several policies related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, including the 25-Year Environment Plan and the Environment Bill. These policies aim to promote biodiversity conservation, reduce carbon emissions, and build a more sustainable future for the country.


Policies

The London Mayor's strategies are also adopting policies related to biodiversity net gain, such as the London Plan and the Biodiversity Strategy. These policies aim to promote the integration of green infrastructure into new developments, increase the quality and quantity of green spaces in the city, and improve the health and wellbeing of London's residents. Developers, contractors, and architects have a critical role to play in promoting biodiversity net gain and building a sustainable future for the UK. To meet the criteria for biodiversity net gain, developers and the construction industry must ensure that new developments result in a measurable increase in biodiversity compared to the pre-development baseline. This means that they must take steps to enhance, restore or create habitats for plants and animals that may have been lost due to development.


One way that developers can do this is by incorporating green infrastructure into their designs. Green infrastructure refers to the network of natural and semi-natural areas, features, and green spaces that are integrated into the built environment. Developers can also take steps to reduce the impact of their development on existing natural systems by using sustainable construction materials, reducing waste, and limiting carbon emissions. They can also work with ecologists to identify opportunities to enhance biodiversity within the development site and its surrounding area.


How can developers take advantage of this?

To incentivize developers and the construction industry to meet biodiversity net gain policies and goals, the UK government has introduced several measures. These include the provision of technical guidance, funding, and tax incentives. The government has also established the Biodiversity Metric 3.0, a tool that allows developers to measure biodiversity gain or loss resulting from their development. This tool helps developers to accurately measure the impact of their development on biodiversity and identify opportunities for improvement.


In addition, the government has introduced the Nature for Climate Fund, which provides funding for projects that enhance and restore natural habitats to help combat climate change. This fund provides a financial incentive for developers to incorporate biodiversity enhancement measures into their development projects.


Finally, the government has introduced tax incentives, such as the Business Rates Retention Scheme, which allows local authorities to retain a portion of business rates collected from developments that meet certain sustainability criteria, including biodiversity net gain.


Conclusion

Developers and the construction industry can adopt practices to meet biodiversity net gain policies and goals by incorporating green infrastructure, using sustainable construction materials, and working with ecologists to identify opportunities for biodiversity enhancement. The UK government provides incentives such as technical guidance, funding, and tax incentives to encourage these practices. By doing so, developers can help promote a sustainable future for the UK while creating innovative and environmentally responsible developments.


Biodiversity net gain is an important policy for promoting sustainability and green development in the UK. It is a key tool for protecting our natural systems, maintaining ecosystem services, and building a sustainable future for generations to come. By working together, we can ensure that biodiversity net gain becomes a cornerstone of all new development in the UK, helping to promote a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

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