Biodiversity 3.0 metric launched in new sustainable development toolkit

Natural England unveils the Biodiversity Metric 3.0 to help developments achieve biodiversity net gain and give back to nature. Natural England (NE) has launched three new tools to help developers measure biodiversity net gain and ensure new developments are “nature positive”. Where a development has an impact on biodiversity, it will ensure that the development is delivered in a way which helps to restore any biodiversity loss and seeks to deliver thriving natural spaces for local communities.   As proposed in the Environment Bill, biodiversity net gain must be measured using a recognised biodiversity metric. The new Biodiversity Metric 3.0 will provide a way of measuring and accounting for nature losses and gains resulting from development or changes in land management. Also announced is the Small Sites Metric (SSM), a beta version designed to simplify the process of calculating biodiversity net gain on smaller development sites. The Environmental Benefits from Nature Tool (EBNT) was also launched to give developers a way of exploring the benefits habitats bring to people, such as improvements to water quality, flood management services and carbon storage. Click here to read more

ABPmer White paper – Steve HullOne of the elements of the Environment Bill, which is expected to become law by autumn 2021 is the principle of biodiversity ‘net gain’ for developments in England. Once enacted, requirements for net gain in both terrestrial and intertidal habitats (to mean low water mark) will have to be considered, with any biodiversity impacts which arise from new developments needing to be offset through the creation and restoration of habitats with at least a net 10% increase in biodiversity overall. A key element is a metric that measures both the losses and gains so that the process can be subject to auditing.

In July, Natural England released Biodiversity Metric 3.0 click here which is expected to be used by any developer, consenting body or landowner that needs to calculate biodiversity losses and gains. A White Paper, published this week by ABPMer examines the application of Intertidal Metric 3.0 and considers what it could mean for future developments. It describes the metric in further detail and then tests it against a hypothetical scheme. Whilst reiterating support for the concept, this paper raises concerns that the latest Metric, in its current form, will result in disproportionate requirements to achieve a 10% net gain, especially in comparison to the compensatory measures requirement under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Click here to read the ABPmer White Paper

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