Biodiversity Net Gain

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Biodiversity Net Gain Interim Planning Guidance Note for Suffolk

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is an approach to development, and/or land management, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than before the development took place.

Under the Environment Act 2021, all planning permissions granted in England (with a few exemptions) will have to deliver at least 10% biodiversity net gain from an as yet unconfirmed date, expected to be November 2023 for all but small sites (which will be required from April 2024).

Measurable biodiversity net gain is already required through the National Planning Policy Framework (2021). The Ipswich Local Plan Review 2018-2036 also requires development to incorporate measures to provide net gains for biodiversity through policies CS4 Protecting Our Assets, DM8 The Natural Environment and DM12 Design and Character. The Biodiversity Net Gain Planning Guidance Note for Suffolk will therefore support the implementation of the Council’s adopted Local Plan policies until such time as mandatory provision supersedes it.

Suffolk Local Planning Authorities have worked together to jointly prepare an Interim Biodiversity Net Gain Planning Guidance Note for Suffolk to provide further detail on how aspects of biodiversity net gain should be demonstrated within planning applications. The guidance sets out an interim position to support Local Plan implementation with immediate effect until such point as national regulations and procedures for implementing BNG become mandatory. Clarifying biodiversity net gain requirements at an earlier stage has great potential to reduce the time taken for applicants to secure necessary consents, de-risk processes and deliver high standards.

This guide was endorsed by Ipswich Borough Council’s Planning and Development Committee on 8 March 2023 and is available to view here.