Biodiversity Net Gain
In the light of the Environment Bill, the Government is to mandate net gains for biodiversity for any development as a condition of planning consent. This requires a minimum of 10% gain on the loss of biodiversity arising from the development. Whilst this has already been implemented by a few Local Planning Authorities, it is expected to be mandated from 2023.
Whilst this gain can be delivered on site, developers will typically prefer to find a ‘donor site’ to provide the gain in biodiversity rather than restrict their site unnecessarily. Due to the scoring metrics used, sites within the same planning authority are preferred. Any donor sites need to be secured by a developer for at least 30 years by way of a conservation covenant and/or obligations.
This presents opportunities of mutual benefit for the developer and the owner/occupier of potential donor sites, and is likely to offer valuable income for those with approved sites during a period of wider uncertainty as to agricultural incomes. However, such covenants need to be carefully considered and negotiated given the duration of agreements, and the possible wide-ranging implications such an agreement can have (e.g. Inheritance tax, secured lending etc).
Landowners/occupiers – if you have been contacted by a developer (or ‘bank’), please do not hesitate to call us for considered advice; such parties will typically meet your costs.
Developers – should you have specific requirements, do feel free to contact us; we have unrivalled connections with the landowning fraternity in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire.