Creating a habitat management and monitoring plan for BNG

What to include in a habitat management and monitoring plan (HMMP) to improve biodiversity for the long term.  

Applies to England

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is mandatory from 12 February 2024.

You can view all of the BNG guidance in the BNG collection.

A legal agreement is an obligation to enhance and maintain a habitat. It must set out:  

  • how you will maintain the habitat 
  • who is responsible for creating or enhancing the habitats 
  • who is responsible for maintenance, management and monitoring 

Your legal agreement for off-site or on-site gains must last for at least 30 years. 

You can use a HMMP to provide more information. It does not replace the legal agreement. You can include your HMMP within your legal agreement or draft it as a separate document. 

You should work with an ecologist or competent professional to write your HMMP.

Agreeing your HMMP 

For off-site gains 

If you’re delivering off-site gains, your HMMP should be agreed with one of the following: 

  • the local planning authority (LPA) if you’re securing gains through a planning obligation (section 106 agreement) 
  • the responsible body if you’re securing gains with a conservation covenant  

SignificantFor significant on-site enhancements enhancements

YouIf you’re making significant on-site enhancements, you need to describe how you’ll maintain and monitor the habitat enhancement. You should submit a HMMP with the biodiversity gain plan

You should also submit a draft HMMP with your planning application. 

Find out more information in the planning practice guidance.

What to include in an HMMP 

You should work with an ecologist or competent professional to write your HMMP. They will help you to understand what to include. For example:

  • how you plan to manage the off-site gains or significant on-site enhancements, taking into account any legal restrictions and requirements 
  • when and how you’ll monitor habitats (this will vary for different types of habitat) 
  • when and how you’ll report monitoring results 
  • when and how you’ll review management proposals  
  • how you’ll  change the way you manage the habitat, so that you achieve the habitats or wider outcome  

Contact the LPA or responsible body to find out if you need to include other information in the HMMP.

Using the HMMP template 

There’s a set of HMMP tools including templates, a template, checklist and companion guide,guides, to help you write your HMMP.  

The HMMP template is a guide with a structure to help you show details of your project. You do not need to fill in every section as not all of it will be relevant to you.  

Theyou. It’s template can be used for projects of all sizes. It’s suitable for significant on-site enhancements and for off-site gains. 

The template’s companion document lists habitat condition and assessment criteria. 

There is a separate template and habitat guide for small developments.

Designing your own HMMP  

If you design your own HMMP, you can refer to the checklist in the HMMP tools as a reminder for what you should include.  

Working with an ecologist 

If you’re using the HMMP template, the ecologist working with you should write a statement of competence in the relevant section. If your site has a watercourse element they should have the appropriate habitat specialisms.

Long term management  

If the land changes hands, you may need to update the HMMP.

Give feedback on this guidance by completing a short survey.

Published 29 November 2023
Last updated 122 FebruaryApril 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added that there is a separate template and habitat guide for small developments.

  2. Updated box at top of page to state that biodiversity net gain (BNG) is mandatory from 12 February 2024 and removed the 'draft guidance' label. Added watercourse information, as well as changes to legal agreement and significant on-site enhancements.

  3. First published.