The UK government have reportedly announced they will delay putting into effect new environmental laws whereby developers would have had to improve countryside and wildlife habitats.
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) was meant to have become a mandatory aspect of the planning system in England from November; however, government sources have reported it will now not be introduced at all this year.
BNG Policy was approved as part of the 2021 Environment Act and under the new rules, developers will be required to deliver a minimum of 10% in biodiversity net gain, on or off site, as part of the planning permission for a new development.
The delay is somewhat unsurprising following a survey by the Royal Town Planning Institute earlier this month which found that more than 60% of public sector planning departments didn’t have the resources in place to deliver the scheme. To date, the government had already given builders of smaller sites a five-month grace period until April 2024 to comply with the rules and ministers had pledged to help local authorities deliver the policy, with more than £15 million set aside to assist with delivering the scheme.
The suggested prices being offered to provide off site BNG for developers has caught the interest of many landowners so changes or delays to the proposals could mean different options need to be considered.
However, the government is reported to still be committed to the policy and are expected to announce a new implementation date shortly.