Last edited 15 Mar 2023

Sustainable development toolkit



[edit] Introduction

On 7 July 2021, Natural England introduced a sustainable development toolkit. The toolkit includes three components:

[edit] Measurement tools

The tools were introduced to help planners achieve biodiversity net gain and ensure new developments are “nature positive”. They support the Government’s plan to expand environmental net gain approaches and deliver wider benefits for people and nature from development. For more, see Environment Bill 2020.

Under the Bill, biodiversity net gain must be measured using a recognised biodiversity metric. Biodiversity net gain does not replace existing legal or licensing habitat or species requirements and should not be applied to compensate for impacts on irreplaceable habitat features.

[edit] Biodiversity Metric 3.0

The Biodiversity Metric 3.0 will provide a way of measuring and accounting for losses of nature as well as gains resulting from development or changes in land management. Where a development has an impact on biodiversity, the tool serves as a guide to delivering it in a way that helps restore any biodiversity loss while providing beneficial natural spaces for local communities.

The Biodiversity Metric 3.0 is available on Natural England’s Access to Evidence site.

[edit] Small Sites Metric (SSM)

Natural England has introduced a beta version of the SSM. This version of the tool is designed to simplify the process of calculating biodiversity net gain on smaller development sites.

The Department of Food, Environment & Rural Affairs (Defra) has provided the platform for the SSM consultation document.

[edit] Environmental Benefits from Nature Tool (EBNT)

The EBNT gives developers a method for exploring the benefits that habitats bring to people, such as water quality improvements, flood management services and carbon storage opportunities.

Developed by the University of Oxford (with input from Defra), the EBNT is intended to help inform decision making and improve the design and outcomes of development, flagging relative changes in ecosystem service provision and bringing attention to areas that require more detailed consideration.

[edit] Using biodiversity to shape development

Biodiversity Metric 3.0 is intended to become the industry standard biodiversity metric for all on-land and intertidal developments in England. It will become a requirement for ecological consultants, developers, local planning authorities, land owners and other entities through the Environment Bill.

Natural England chair Tony Juniper said, “Biodiversity net gain can also give greater access to nature where people live and work, and can streamline the planning process by objectively and transparently quantifying any losses and gains in biodiversity."

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said, “We have committed to implement an approach to development that will leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand. To do this, we will be legislating for mandatory biodiversity net gain through the Environment Bill.”

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP said, “The Planning Bill will establish a clear set of rules – from where communities want homes to be built, to the high design and environmental standards that must be met – while complementing the commitments we are making in the Environment Bill. This includes making it mandatory for the vast majority of housing and developments to achieve at least a 10% net gain in value for biodiversity, ensuring new developments enhance the environment, contribute to our ecological networks and conserve our precious landscapes."


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[edit] External resources

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