In order to fall in line with the biodiversity net gain requirements and ensure that their development plans fit the relevant criteria, developers need to ensure that they are putting their complete faith in knowledgeable, experienced and qualified experts on mandatory biodiversity net gain.
Not only do our biodiversity net gain consultants possess an advanced knowledge of biodiversity gain, but also other relevant areas that will help to secure measurable net gains. Further considerations include the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and local nature recovery strategies, primary and secondary legislation involving conservation covenants, biodiversity units and biodiversity metrics, developments involving irreplaceable habitat sites, various habitat types and ancient woodland, and the relationship it has with the planning process and the planning decisions of corresponding local authorities.
Since it was rolled out in November 2021 as part of the Environment Act, biodiversity net gain (BNG) has grown in the minds of developers as an integral part of planning policies that will cause a fundamental change in planning projects going forward, leaving each defined area in a measurably better state post-development compared to pre-development.
Ignoring a handful of exceptions, BNG applies to most new developments and infrastructure projects on big and small sites throughout England. Refusal to meet the legal requirement of implementing biodiversity net gain, however, will only lead to penalties, delays and unavoidable blockages. Although a two-year transition period is currently active, Natural England and other organisations suggest that developers should look to enhance biodiversity on local plans beforehand, particularly as some local authorities are refusing to consider a planning obligation without evidence that they are looking to improve biodiversity post-development plans.
As a trusted and reliable supplier of ecological and arboricultural surveys, Arbtech has a comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity net gain principles, and a team of biodiversity gain consultants that can provide expert advice on biodiversity offsetting and increasing biodiversity to bolster planning applications and eliminate any potential stumbling blocks that could otherwise arise.
Biodiversity Net Gain Consultant
Due to the close connection with ecology, biodiversity net gain consultants often simultaneously work as ecological consultants conducting various forms of ecology survey. It also means that the consultant will possess the same level of insight as an ecologist and, if necessary, conduct further surveys such as a habitat survey, Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) or protected species surveys.
As early as the inception of biodiversity net gain prior to gaining royal assent within the new Environment Bill, our ecologists have made themselves fully aware of the planning policy in order to assist all clients in correctly integrating solutions relating to this new branch of the planning system.
How does a Biodiversity Net Gain Consultant Operate?
With extensive knowledge of protected species and valuable plant life, the skills of an ecologist fulfil the unique purpose of a biodiversity net gain consultant. For instance, in a visit to a development site, the biodiversity consultant will be fully equipped to analyse all ecological features on the site including both fauna and flora to take a biodiversity net gain calculation and establish biodiversity value, calculating biodiversity net gain correctly using the DEFRA biodiversity metric (currently metric 3.0).
Then, using their own observations and the plans of the developer to calculate biodiversity net gain, the consultant can determine the impact future developments will have on local biodiversity and the natural environment. With this information, they can find great opportunities to develop effective methods of counteracting this outcome before suggesting additional changes that will prompt a positive impact and secure measurable net gains of biodiversity by a minimum of 10% for at least 30 years. If impossible, however, the consultant will suggest purchasing biodiversity units or biodiversity credits to account for habitat creation off-site on a delivery site from the national register to achieve biodiversity net gain elsewhere in the country.
All details from the physical inspection of a development site including information about the BNG assessment itself, ecological findings from the specific plot of land and recommended next steps will all be included in a BNG plan. Every ecological survey results in the surveyor producing an ecology report, and BNG management plans have the same purpose – to inform the developer, the local planning authority and all other stakeholders on the current state of the site and effective measures that would successfully reach the necessary outcome.
What Makes a Biodiversity Net Gain Consultant Qualified?
For anyone to undertake a biodiversity net gain assessment, they will need to possess the relevant qualifications and experience. As a starting point, a BNG consultant will have completed a college course and university degree in an area related to ecology, animal species or environmental management. An extensive selection of work placements at ecological associations, charities, consultancies, societies and organisations should coincide with this process, leading the biodiversity consultant towards working as an ecological surveyor and, as a result, a professional capable of carrying out biodiversity net gain assessments.
Additional steps can enhance an individual’s capability operating as an ecological surveyor or biodiversity net gain consultant, as well as contribute to boosting their employability. For example, a biodiversity net gain consultant may possess more knowledge and experience if they extend their understanding of protected species, go to ecology conferences, seek further qualifications and accreditations, and volunteer on ecology projects.
It is important that developers looking for a service provider that can conduct a BNG assessment and produce the necessary BNG plan find a reputable ecological consultancy. As such, considering our seemingly endless list of positive reviews and a solid track record for providing a high quality service over at least 10 years of service, it should come as no surprise to learn that many developers choose Arbtech for biodiversity net gain solutions.
As an ecological consultancy, it is our goal to provide advice and pragmatic solutions to our clients, offering crucial services and solving troublesome ecological problems. The emergence of biodiversity net gain has prompted us to formulating a bespoke process for satisfying the conditions of the mandate. In a biodiversity net gain plan, you will find all of the information you need to continue your development proposal and strengthen your application to secure planning permission.
Starting with a simple conversation between you and our team, we will check that a BNG plan is the best course of action for your project before sending a licensed biodiversity net gain consultant to your site. On the day of the visit, they will index all ecological features present and use a combination of current assets and the plans of the project to gauge the necessary alterations needed to avoid biodiversity loss and meet the 10% net gain of biodiversity once the development has concluded.
Upon completion of the BNG assessment, our biodiversity consultant will get to work with creating your bespoke BNG plan, and you should receive it within a few short days. It will include all of the information you and the relevant local planning authorities need for delivering BNG, meaning you can then submit it to the planning department of your local council to assist your application for planning consent.
Biodiversity Net Gain Consultation
One of numerous benefits to picking Arbtech for biodiversity net gain guidance is that we will give you a free quote for your own deliberation without any obligation. All you need to do is contact us by filling out our quick quote form or calling us directly on the number above. It is also worth noting that you can then use this opportunity to give our helpful team as much information about your project and site as possible, boosting the accuracy of the quote.
If you have read the quote and are happy with it, send it back to us and we can work with you to decide on a date and time that suits your schedule. When we have worked together to pick a suitable opportunity to undertake the survey, a biodiversity net gain consultant situated in the right places will visit your site, carry out the BNG assessment, and prepare your BNG plan ready for purpose.