What is Biodiversity Net Gain?
Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is a game-changing approach to development and land management.
BNG doesn't just aim to maintain the natural environment, but to make it even better than it was before.
The Biodiversity Metric provides a powerful tool for measuring changes in biodiversity value (losses or gains), enabling designers, developers, and planners to assess the impacts of development on the natural environment.
Starting from November 2023, all planning permissions granted in England must deliver 10% biodiversity net gain, with Defra's biodiversity metric being used to measure progress.
Securing habitats for at least 30 years is also required and as the construction industry continues to grow and shape our world, it's essential that we prioritise sustainable construction practices, such as Net Biodiversity Gain (NGB), to ensure that we build a better future for ourselves and the planet.
NGB is all about creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to construction. By using sustainable materials and practices, the goal is to increase biodiversity in the local area over time. This means that sustainable practices like recycled materials, plant-based insulation, and energy-efficient technologies should be used instead of traditional methods.
But .. NGB isn't just about avoiding negative impacts on the environment .. it's also about creating new habitats for wildlife – which is good thing! To achieve this, construction projects must be designed in a way that actively encourages and supports biodiversity.
Green roofs, living walls, rain gardens and other green infrastructure projects are great examples of how we can create habitats for wildlife. They not only increase habitat diversity, but also provide key resources like food, water and shelter for local wildlife.
Beyond just supporting biodiversity, these projects can also help to improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff and act as a buffer against potential climate change effects. By embracing NGB, we can create a more sustainable and eco-friendly future for ourselves and for generations to come.
Although NGB is a concept that has been gaining traction in the construction industry, it is far from widespread. To make sure that all construction projects prioritise NGB, guidelines and regulations are being firmly established at grass roots within Local Authority planning departments.
Similarly, those who build structures should be accountable for the harm they cause to the environment and work towards increasing biodiversity. This can be accomplished by setting goals to create a net gain in biodiversity and encouraging the use of sustainable practices.
Excitingly, there are also technological advancements that can help make construction projects more sustainable - 3D printing can minimise waste generation and renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy (which are also increasingly affordable), offer great alternatives to traditional energy sources.
Ultimately, sustainable construction practices and NGB should be the norm in the construction industry, not the exception.
It is undeniably clear that the future of our planet depends on the decisions we make today and the construction industry has a unique opportunity to play an important role in creating a more sustainable built environment.
By prioritising NGB and utilising sustainable technologies, the construction industry can contribute towards a better future for our planet and its inhabitants.
Let's work towards creating not only functional and striking but, also environmentally responsible buildings, that benefit humankind and our precious ecosystem.