The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has reiterated recently its call upon the government to support small and medium size builders and developers ahead of forthcoming Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements.
In response to government consultation in April, the NFB called for a cost effective process to calculate BNG requirements on smaller sites of less than 50 units. Other concerns have surrounded issues like how the provision of BNG will impact infrastructure schemes such as cables and pipelines, sites for phased development as well as compulsory purchase of land.
NFB members were concerned that the BNG could add materially to the costs, delays and consenting risks of undertaking property development. Requests were made for government clarification of qualifying measures, both onsite and offsite to count towards improving BNG performance. NFB members are worried about how offsite solutions will work in particular. Issues include how BNG measures will impact on the development process and how much they will cost. As a consequence, NFB has questioned whether more could be done to broaden qualifying onsite measures.
The NFB is hoping for a sympathetic response from Liz Truss’ new government following her previously stated plans to review nutrient neutrality guidance in a bid to cut red tape. The BNG regime is currently due to take effect in November 2023. Between now and then many planning authorities have started to develop their understanding, and building up their skills and resources to be able to implement the new requirements. Many authorities are critically short in these areas. Private sector planning consultants and environmental consultants will be needing to do the same in kind. Hopefully, as the implementation date draws nearer, more information and local planning guidance will be made available to address and assuage the concerns outlined by the NFB members.
The development sector is hoping for a measured approach to implementation, avoiding any hiatus to schemes and projects which are already in the pipeline and a repeat of the experience recently seen with aspects of nutrient neutrality.