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Royal Town Planning Institute issues warning on lack of BNG guidance

Biodiversity Net Gain laws came into effect in February, but 81% of professionals are concerned about lack of preparedness . 

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Introduced under the Environment Act, the regulations require local authority planning departments to assess the impact on nature and habitats of any construction project. New housing schemes, for example, now need to show a positive contribution to the surrounding environment. 

However, a survey by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) shows low levels of confidence across the industry, with firms unsure of their ability to handle requirements. 81% of planners reported needing further ‘guidance, advice and support’, 68% said they needed more staff and skills, and 61% asked for more case studies to identify best practice. 

41% of planners could not confirm they had the appropriate access to expertise and professionals trained in ecological analysis. Figures were released ahead of the initial introduction of laws, and paint a worrying picture of how prepared the sector was. However, they do point to a marked improvement on a previous study. 

‘We made it clear to the Government that, without adequate funding, new BNG requirements could add disruption and delays in already overstretched Local Planning Authorities. While we welcome the additional resources from DEFRA, we feel that only time will tell whether this funding will be enough,’ said Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI. 

‘However, planners in the public and private sectors are still calling out for guidance, advice, and support to help them improve the biodiversity of new development from today,’ she continued. ‘We’ve recently seen almost a thousand RTPI members sign up for a webinar on BNG in the hope of finding out information on the process and will be holding more events in the future to help planners implement these changes effectively.’

More on biodiversity net gain: 

Greater Manchester Combined Authority uses OS data for groundbreaking nature recovery

Biodiversity Net Gain is now active policy, here are its limitations

Essex County Council plants huge meadow for Biodiversity Net Gain

Image: Dakota Roos


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