A DEFRA consultation is ongoing until 5 April 2022 to gather views on how the biodiversity net gain requirements, contained in the Environment Act 2021, should be delivered. The results of the consultation will feed into the secondary legislation required to deliver the aims of the Environment Act.

Whilst much of the Environment Act 2021 is not yet in force, the intention is for the mandatory 10% biodiversity net gain requirement to take effect in November 2023.

For schemes currently in the pipeline, it is worth considering now how these schemes will achieve the mandatory gain – particularly as this will need to be addressed as part of the planning application process. Providing a net gain off-site is available only as a last resort, where it is evidenced that securing an on-site gain is not possible. It will therefore be necessary to consider possible off-site locations which could be used to deliver the required biodiversity gain.