Net gain - Consultation proposals

Defra are consulting on whether to mandate that new developments must achieve a biodiversity net gain to be measured using the 'Defra metric' with the aim of improving how the planning system addresses development's impact on habitats.

Defra are seeking views on whether mandating biodiversity net gain would streamline planning processes and give greater clarity and certainty for developers. The consultation states that varied environmental planning conditions across different regions have created confusion and resentment. The consultation proposes that a single, consistent national approach would reduce uncertainty for the environment, for the community and for the developer. Defra would work closely with local authorities to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility to meet local priorities whilst maintaining national consistency for developers.

The first part of this consultation sets out the objectives of net gain policy for the environment, development and local communities. The second part of the consultation examines the core concepts of biodiversity net gain and environmental net gains. It describes how biodiversity net gain is set out in planning policy and where it is currently practised by local planners, developers and infrastructure providers.

The consultation proposes that the requirement would cover "all new developments that results in loss or degradation of habitat, including buildings such as housing, offices, shops, business space and local infrastructure". However it also moots possible exemptions to the requirement, including "permitted development and house extensions". The consultations also suggests that "small sites", "all brownfield sites", and "some brownfield sites (e.g. those listed on brownfield, or other, land registers)" could be exempted from the new rules.

Author: Defra

Date of publication: December 2018

This item updates DCP section 4.143

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