The Government has now confirmed that the biodiversity net gain ("BNG") obligations secured by the Environment Act 2021 will take effect on 12 February 2024, with the obligations following for smaller sites taking effect on 2 April 2024. 

The transitional arrangements for planning applications submitted prior to this date have also been confirmed as follows:

  • For planning permissions granted before 12 February 2024, an application pursuant to section 73 to vary that permission will be exempt from BNG.
  • The BNG obligations will not apply where the application for planning permission was made before 12 February 2024. 
  • If a planning application for a small site development is made between 12 February 2024 and 2 April 2024, with a subsequent section 73 variation granted after 2 April 2024, BNG will not be required on any subsequent section 73 variations.

Whilst finalised regulations are awaited on the de-minimis exemption (for which the BNG obligations will not apply) and the different options for delivering mitigation, this update is a definitive move towards BNG taking effect.