Biodiversity net gain: what local planning authorities should do 

How local planning authorities can ensure that developers and land managers meet the requirements for biodiversity net gain (BNG). 

Applies to England

ThisBiodiversity draftnet guidancegain explains what will apply when (BNG) becomesis mandatory.mandatory Wefrom will12 continueFebruary to update this guidance.2024.


There localis policiesmore todetail supporton biodiversitywhat local net gain (BNG)  

Local planning authorities (LPAs) canshould setdo policiesin tothe supportplanning biodiversitypractice netguidance.

Read gainthe (collected guidance on BNG). Theyfor candevelopers, identifyland localmanagers areasand suitableLPAs.

Planning forapplications habitatand creationbiodiversity andgain enhancementplans: toguidance help:  

for LPAs

  • landowners

    1. whoBefore wantgranting toplanning sellpermission

    Planning off-sitepermission includes a statutory biodiversity units 

  • developersgain whocondition. needThere tois complymore withinformation theon BNG requirements  
and planning in the planning practice guidance.   

What to check

LPAs must cancheck makethe surefollowing developershave knowbeen about:  submitted with the planning application, where development would be subject to the biodiversity gain condition:

  • a statement confirming whether the requirementapplicant forbelieves 10%that BNG planning permission, if granted, would be subject to the biodiversity gain condition

  • local

    the policypre-development requirementsbiodiversity forvalue BNG,of suchthe ason-site localhabitat natureon recoverythe strategies 

Ifdate of application (or an earlier date) including the localcompleted naturemetric recoverycalculation strategytool has(showing notthe yetcalculations, beenthe published,publication LPAsdate shouldand sayversion whatof plansthe arebiodiversity currentlymetric inused place.  to calculate that value)

  • Localwhere naturethe recoveryapplicant strategieswishes identifyto theuse placesan andearlier habitatsdate, thatthe areproposed mostearlier beneficialdate and the reasons for naturethat anddate

  • a getstatement 15%confirming morewhether the biodiversity unitsvalue thanof the sameon-site habitat createdis elsewhere. 

    Findlower outon aboutthe biodiversitydate unitsof inapplication guidance(or aboutan off-siteearlier gains

    Finddate) outbecause aboutof identifyingthe habitatcarrying on of strategicactivities significance(‘degradation’)

  • where forunauthorised localdegradation naturehas recoverytaken inplace guidancebetween about30 complyingJanuary with2020 and the biodiversitysubmission duty. 

    Facilitatingof transactionsthe ofplanning units 

    LPAsapplication, maythe berelevant abledate toshould introducebe sellersimmediately andbefore buyersthese toactivities eachwere othercarried by: out

    • developing matching services 
    • providing

      a description of any irreplaceable habitat bankon registerthe land, that listsexists localon gainthe sitesdate forof sale application (or an earlier date)

  • a planningplan applicationsdrawn andto biodiversityan gainidentified plans 

  • Ifscale (including the LPAdirection grantsof planningnorth), permissionshowing foron-site thehabitat development,existing on the developerdate mustof submitapplication a(or biodiversityan gainearlier, Theand LPAany willirreplaceable thenhabitat

  • Applicants needcan refer to decidethese whetherdetails toin approveaccompanying thedocuments, biodiversityrather gainthan planduplicate bythis consideringinformation whetherwithin the 10%application BNG is achieved. form.

    PlanningIn permissionthe includesplanning aapplication generalform, biodiversityapplicants gainwill condition.  confirm whether this information accompanies the application.

    DevelopersIf cannotthis startinformation workhas onnot abeen developmentprovided, and the LPA cannotmust publishrefuse ato developmentvalidate onthe theirapplication.

    In registeraddition untilto thethese LPAminimum hasrequirements, approvedfurther theinformation biodiversitymay gainneed plan. 

    Beforeto approvingbe aprovided planningin application 

    Beforeorder approvingto assist the planningconsideration application,of BNG as part of the LPAplanning shouldapplication. checkThis anymay include where there are particular considerations around:

    • significant on-site biodiversity enhancements
    • use orof off-site biodiversity gains

    LPAs aremay appropriate,set legallyout securedspecific andfurther thatrequirements ain maintenancethe andlocal monitoringlist planof information requirements.

    It is ingood placepractice for 30developers years.  

    to submit information about any potential planning obligations. This is something that LPAs shouldmay checkadd theto requiredlocal metriclists calculationof information requirements.

    For example, if there may be a need for habitata beforesignificant developmentincrease andof on-site biodiversity informationenhancements, havedevelopers beenshould submittedprovide witha draft habitat management and monitoring plan as part of the planningapplication. application. 

    This willplan ensuresets out the finalproposals biodiversityfor gainlong planterm takesmaintenance account of anyhabitats amendmentsto madebe aftersecured thethrough initialplanning condition or planning permission. obligation.


    If thethere biodiversitymay gainbe plan 

    Developersa canneed submitfor theiran off-site biodiversity gain plansite specifically to provide gains for the LPAdevelopment, developers should clearly set out the obligations that they are likely to review,be afterbound planningby permissionin hasa beensection given. 106 agreement, if permission is granted.

    Checking metric calculations

    LPAs mustare decideresponsible whetherfor toreviewing approveand achecking biodiversitymetric gaintool plancalculations withinsubmitted 8by weeks.developers, LPAsas mustpart notifyof theassessing applicantwhether withthey thecan decision. achieve 10% BNG

    IfThe thestatutory LPAbiodiversity approvesmetric tool must be used to create the biodiversity gain plan,plan. theyLPAs mustshould publishnot accept calculations made with previous versions of the decisionmetric ontool their(4.0 planningand register.  before).


    Small sites can choose to check 

    use a simpler small sites version of the metric.

    LPAs should checkassess small sites calculations in the same way as calculations made for larger sites using the statutory biodiversity gainmetric plantool. explains:    LPAs cannot expect a developer to use any specific consultant or ecologist.

    • how

      Developers should submit a copy of the developermetric hascalculation appliedwith the planning application as supporting evidence of the habitat’s biodiversity gainvalue hierarchy  

    • before development. 

      Read guidance about the biodiversity unitmetric.

      See valuesall beforebiodiversity metric calculation tools and afterguides.

      Recorded development  

    • howwebinars are available from the developerLocal willGovernment deliverAssociation’s thePlanning 10%Advisory Service.

      Checking habitat surveys  

      To review habitat surveys submitted by developers in the BNG 

    The developerprocess, LPAs may mustneed submitto their: check: 

    • completedaerial biodiversity metric calculationphotos 

    • pre-developmentprotected sites and post-developmentspecies 

    • local plansenvironmental (showingrecord thecentres 

    • other locationdata ofsources 

    • with on-sitelocal habitat,ecologists theor directionhabitat ofspecialists north and drawn to anget identifiedtheir scale) advice  

    TheLPAs only developerneed mustto alsocheck provideinformation anythat’s ofrelevant to the followinghabitat thatsurvey. 

    Developments applyfor on-site gains within small sites do not need to theirsubmit application: habitat surveys. 

    • compensation

      Enter planinto (ifa thelegal metricagreement advises 

      Before thatLPAs create a legal agreement, they needmust to) 

    • check:

      There is amore biodiversityinformation gainon planwhat template.developers Itneed isto notagree mandatory,with butthe askingLPA developersor toresponsible usebody.

      The itlocal couldauthority help(LA) withmust standardisingregister the submissionplanning ofobligation biodiversityor gainconservation plancovenant andwith metricthe information. local land charges register.


      Working outwith howdevelopers who wish to reviewbuy thestatutory biodiversity gain plan template


      Checking metric calculations 

      LPAs areshould responsibletalk to the developer as soon as a potential need for reviewingstatutory andbiodiversity checkingcredits metrichas toolbeen calculationsidentified. 

      LPAs submittedneed to be satisfied by developers,the asevidence partthat ofnot assessingenough whetheron-site theyor off-site gains can achievebe made to meet the 10% biodiversityBNG gain.  requirement, before they allow developers to buy statutory credits.

      LocalWhen authoritiesit’s mustagreed reportthat ona biodiversitydeveloper gainscan thatbuy arestatutory deliveredcredits, andLPAs expectedshould tosend beemail delivered.confirmation Informationof fromthis biodiversitywithout metricdelay, calculationsso couldthat support the dutyfinal tobiodiversity reportgain onplan biodiversitycan gainsbe submitted.


      They calculationsshould advise developers not to assess 

      Thebuy statutory biodiversitycredits metricuntil toolthey mustare beable used to createdischarge the(fulfil) biodiversitytheir gainnon-BNG plan.pre-commencement planning conditions.

      LPAs shouldmay notneed acceptto calculationsadvise madedevelopers withon previousbespoke versionsBNG compensation if they are building on some types of habitat. When developers use the metric tooltool, (4.0it andwill before).tell them if they need to make bespoke compensation. They cannot buy statutory biodiversity credits if they are required to make bespoke compensation.

      2. Reviewing the biodiversity gain plan

      SmallAfter sitesplanning permission has been given, developers can choosesubmit their biodiversity gain plan for the LPA to usereview. The aLPA simplerwill smallthen sitesneed versionto ofdecide whether to approve the metric.  biodiversity gain plan by considering whether the 10% BNG is achieved.

      What to check

      LPAs should assesscheck smallthe sitesbiodiversity calculationsgain inplan explains:   

      • how the samedeveloper wayhas asapplied calculationsthe madebiodiversity forgain largerhierarchy
      • the sitesbiodiversity usingunit values before and after development
      • how the statutorydeveloper biodiversitywill metricdeliver tool.the LPAs10% BNG

      As cannotpart expectof atheir developerbiodiversity togain useplan, anythe specificdeveloper consultantmust orsubmit ecologist. their:


      • completed shouldbiodiversity submitmetric acalculation
      • plans copyfor ofbefore theand metricafter calculationdevelopment with(showing the planninglocation applicationof ason-site supportinghabitat evidenceand the direction of thenorth habitat’sand biodiversitydrawn valueto beforean development.  

        identified scale)

      The final metric calculation showing the value before and after proposed development does not have to be completed until the final biodiversity gain plan is submitted, although it can be shared earlier. earlier.

      The LPA must assess and decide whether to approve the final biodiversity metric calculation. It is up to the LPA to determine what expertise is needed to help assess the biodiversity metric submitted with the biodiversity gain plan. They may decide to use an ecologist or one of their planning officers. officers.

      Developers must submit their completed biodiversity metric calculation with their biodiversity gain plan.  

      LPAs need to: to check that:

      • decide what expertise they need to review the biodiversity metric 
      • check that the pre-development, post development and total net change calculations match  match
      • check that it meets the trading rules rules
      • check that the developer’s habitat valuationvaluations isare accurate accurate
      • report on biodiversity gains that the developer delivers and expects to deliver 

      If a small site development uses off-site gains in their main biodiversity metric, LPAs need to manually check the trading rules in the biodiversity gain plan. plan.

      ReadThe guidancedeveloper aboutmust also provide any of the statutoryfollowing biodiversitythat metric.apply to their application:


      There is a biodiversity gain plan template.. It is not mandatory, but asking developers to use it could help with standardising the submission of biodiversity gain plan and metric information.

      SupportChecking the biodiversity gain sites register for off-site gains 

      LPAs onshould check that the amount and type of any off-site gains listed in the developer’s biodiversity metric 

      Recordedgain webinarsplan arematch availablethe fromallocation recorded on the Localbiodiversity Governmentgain Association’ssites Planningregister, Advisoryoperated Service. 

      Checkingby habitatNatural surveys 


      ToBefore reviewthe habitatLPA surveys,approves LPAsa maybiodiversity needgain toplan, check: it must check that:

      • aerialany photos off-site gains in the plan have been registered
      • protectedthose sitesoff-site andgains species have been recorded as allocated to the development in question
      • localthe environmentalbiodiversity recordvalue centres of the gains in the gain plan match the value recorded on the register

      Developers do not need to register or allocate:

      • otheron-site data sources gains
      • withstatutory localbiodiversity ecologistscredits

      How orto habitatcheck specialiststhe toright getstatutory credits have been purchased

      With their advice  

    biodiversity gain plan, the developer will provide proof of purchase of statutory biodiversity credits, which will state the number of statutory credits of each tier they have bought. 

    They will also provide their final metric calculation. LPAs onlywill need to check informationthat that’sthe relevantdeveloper tohas bought the habitatcorrect survey. 

    Developmentsnumber forof on-sitestatutory gainscredits withinfrom smalleach sitesprice dotier, notusing needthe tounit submitshortfall habitatsummary surveys. from their metric calculation.

    Checking3. developersApproving sellingthe excessbiodiversity on-sitegain gains plan

    IfLPAs amust developerdecide planswhether to sellapprove excessa on-sitebiodiversity gainsgain forplan anotherwithin development8 toweeks. useLPAs asmust off-sitenotify gains,the applicant with the decision.

    If the LPA shouldapproves bethe satisfiedbiodiversity that: 

    • gain plan, they must publish the on-sitedecision excesson gainstheir countplanning asregister. 

      Developers significant 

    • thecannot usestart ofwork significanton excessa on-sitedevelopment gainsuntil isthe clearLPA inhas approved the biodiversity gain planplan.

      LAs formust thereport otheron development 

    • thebiodiversity gains that are legallydelivered secured,and allocatedexpected andto registered,be asdelivered. forInformation anyfrom off-sitebiodiversity gains 
    • metric calculations could support the duty to report on biodiversity gains.

      Monitoring BNG

    IfThe theseperson conditionsresponsible arefor notensuring met, the LPAlandowner shoulddoes notwhat acceptthey have committed to do is the useother ofparty excessto on-sitethe gainslegal foragreement. anotherWhere development’sa planning obligation secures on-site or off-site BNG.  

    Checkinggains, the biodiversityLPA gainshould sitesenforce registerthe foragreement. Where on-site or off-site gains  

    Youare shouldsecured checkby thata conservation covenant, the amountresponsible andbody typeshould ofenforce anythe off-siteagreement. 

    The gainsLPA listedor inresponsible body should:

    • monitor whether the developer’slandowner biodiversityis gainmeeting plantheir matchobligations
    • take theaction allocationif recordedthey do not

    Actions LPAs should take on themandatory biodiversity net gain

    Setting siteslocal register.policies Theto registersupport isBNG 

    LPAs operatedcan byset Naturalpolicies Englandto andsupport available when BNG. becomesThey mandatory.  

    Beforecan youidentify approvelocal aareas biodiversitysuitable gainfor plan,habitat youcreation mustand checkenhancement that: to help: 

    • anylandowners off-sitewho gainswant into thesell planoff-site havebiodiversity been registered units
    • thosedevelopers off-sitewho gainsneed haveto beencomply recordedwith asthe allocatedBNG torequirements

    LPAs thecan developmentmake insure question developers know about: 

    • the biodiversityrequirement valuefor of10% theBNG
    • local gainspolicy inrequirements thefor gainBNG, plansuch matchas thelocal valuenature recordedrecovery on the register strategies

    On-siteIf gainsthe dolocal notnature needrecovery tostrategy behas registerednot oryet allocated.been Statutorypublished, biodiversityLPAs creditsshould alsosay dowhat notplans needare tocurrently bein registered or allocated. place. 


    Local gainsnature withrecovery astrategies legalidentify agreement 

    Findthe outplaces howand landhabitats managers,that developers,are localmost planningbeneficial authoritiesfor nature and responsibleget bodies15% canmore legallybiodiversity secureunits landin orthe biodiversity metric than the same habitat enhancementscreated forelsewhere.

    Find out about biodiversity netunits guidance about off-site gains .

    BeforeFind LPAsout createabout aidentifying legalhabitat agreement,of theystrategic mustsignificance check: 


    Published should29 adviseNovember developers2023
    Last notupdated to12 buyFebruary statutory2024 + show creditsall untilupdates
    1. Updated ablebox toat dischargetop (fulfil) their non-BNG pre-commencement planning conditions. 

      LPAs may need to advise developers on bespoke BNG compensation if they are building on some types of When developers use the statutory biodiversity metric tool, it will tell them if they need to makestate bespokethat compensation. They cannot buy statutory biodiversity creditsnet if they are required to make bespoke compensation. 

      How to check the right statutory credits have been purchased 

      With their biodiversity gain plan,(BNG) theis developermandatory willfrom provide12 proofFebruary of2024 purchaseand ofremoved statutory biodiversity credits, which will state the number'draft ofguidance' statutorylabel. creditsRestructured ofand eachmade tierchanges theythroughout, haveincluding bought.  

      Theyclarifying will also provide their final metric calculation. LPAs will need to check that the developerLPA's hasduties boughtthroughout the correctplanning numberapplication ofprocess statutoryand creditswhen fromreviewing eachand priceapproving tier, using the unit shortfall summary from their metric calculation.

      Read the collected guidance on biodiversity net gain forplans, developers, land managers and the LPAs.

      Giveuse feedbackof onLPA thisand guidance by completing a short survey.LA.

    Published 29 November 2023
    Last updated 1 December 2023 + show all updates
    1. Added link to aerodrome information.

    2. First published.