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Nature benefits from new legal requirement for developers

All major housing developments in England are now required to deliver at least a 10% benefit for nature. This Biodiversity Net Gain requirement, which was introduced in the Environment Act, is now a legal requirement for all new planning applications.

Biodiversity Net Gain means that a development needs to avoid harming nature, or if that is unavoidable, new habitats need to be created or existing ones enhanced so that the net result is more nature after a development than before. The gain is preferably to be made within the new site itself, but the requirements can also be satisfied by investing in nature sites elsewhere.

Measures are included in the new requirements to ensure that the Biodiversity Net Gain provides a lasting benefit to the environment over the long term. For instance, significant on-site and off-site gains will need a legal agreement with a responsible body or local authority to monitor the habitat improvements.

Many developers already work to improve nature in their developments, but the new requirements have been welcomed as a positive move in bringing nature back into towns and cities.


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