Today, on February 12th, as Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) legislation comes into force, it marks a pivotal moment not only for environmental conservation but also for the role of cost consultancy in shaping sustainable development. BNG, a ground-breaking approach to biodiversity protection, shifts the focus from mere mitigation of environmental impact to actively enhancing and restoring natural ecosystems. In this context, the expertise of cost consultancy becomes instrumental in securing and implementing effective Net Gain Solutions.

Biodiversity, the intricate web of life on our planet, faces unprecedented threats from human activities. Urbanization, deforestation, and climate change are among the key factors driving biodiversity loss. The essence of BNG lies in ensuring that any biodiversity loss resulting from development projects is offset by measurable gains elsewhere, ultimately achieving a net positive outcome for biodiversity.

Cost consultancy professionals play a crucial role in identifying cost-effective strategies for implementing BNG measures. By analysing project budgets and identifying potential cost savings, cost consultants help ensure that biodiversity considerations are integrated seamlessly into development plans without compromising financial viability.

Moreover, Quantity Surveying expertise enables developers to maximize the efficiency of BNG investments. By conducting cost-benefit analyses and evaluating the long-term return on investment of biodiversity enhancement measures, cost consultants help prioritize actions that deliver the greatest ecological impact within budgetary constraints.

The integration of cost consultancy into BNG solutions also fosters collaboration and innovation. By bringing together diverse stakeholders, including developers, environmental experts, and financial institutions, cost consultancy facilitates the exchange of ideas and expertise, leading to the development of creative and sustainable biodiversity enhancement strategies.

Furthermore, carrying out early RIBA Stage cost planning enables developers to navigate regulatory requirements and compliance standards associated with BNG implementation. By staying abreast of evolving legislation and industry best practices, cost consultants ensure that development projects meet or exceed biodiversity conservation targets while minimizing regulatory risks.

As Biodiversity Net Gain becomes a standard practice in development projects, the role of cost consultancy in maximizing biodiversity outcomes will only grow in significance. By leveraging their expertise in cost management, financial analysis, and project delivery, cost consultancy professionals can drive meaningful progress towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

The enforcement of Biodiversity Net Gain legislation underscores the critical importance of integrating biodiversity considerations into development planning and implementation. As b&m, our expertise in guiding the way, allows developers to embrace BNG as an opportunity to create thriving, biodiverse communities that benefit both people and the planet.

From 12 February 2024, BNG will be mandatory for new planning applications for major development made under the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1990, subject to the confirmed exemptions. Major development includes residential developments with 10 or more dwellings, or where the site area is greater than 0.5 hectares.

BNG for small sites will have an extended transition period and will apply from 2 April 2024. The definition of small sites is summarised below, with the full definition found in the regulations. Small site development includes:

  • Residential development where the number of dwellings is between 1 and 9, or if unknown the site area is less than 0.5 hectares
  • Commercial development where floor space created is less than 1,000 square metres or the total site area is less than 1 hectare