Biodiversity Net gain for small sites to be delayed



On 21 February 2023, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published the government response to its 2022 consultation on its policy approach to implementing mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) under the Environment Act 2021 (EA) in England.

The requirement for Biodiversity Net Gain

The EA introduced a requirement for at least 10% BNG on all sites to be introduced in November 2023.  Defra is concerned about the high volume of minor applications that will follow and the financial and resourcing impacts that this would have on both developers and LPAs.  To overcome this the Government has extended the transition period for small sites to April 2024.

So what is a small site?


1-9 dwellings on the site with an area of less than 1 ha; or

where the number of dwellings is not known a site of less than 0.5 ha.


less than 1000 m² floorspace to be created (it doesn't say but presumably this is GIA); or

the site area is less than 1 ha.


So BNG is coming for large sites in November 2023 and developers will have to provide 10% BNG on large sites from that date, but developers will not have to provide the 10% BNG uplift for small sites until April 2024.

If you are a developer dealing with a small site then preparation for the 10% BNG requirement should be underway, but it will not be required to be provided on permissions granted prior to April 2024.

LPAs (already massively overstretched and under resourced) will have a short breathing space to put systems in place to deal with this.

If you would like further information please contact

Jade Chalmers

or Bob Sadler

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