Case studies show best practice in biodiversity net gain operations

31st May 2023

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From January to March, IEMA ran a series of webinars giving practical examples of implementing biodiversity net gain (BNG) ahead of mandatory requirements coming into force in November that will affect built environment developers and land managers.

The webinars were grouped into three areas: baselines and the Defra biodiversity metric; implementation and stakeholder engagement; and measuring and monitoring. They are still available to watch on the IEMA website.

We have captured all the case studies in a paper due out this summer. The paper will be exclusive to members and will include lessons learned and outcomes, alongside tools that the organisations involved used in their practice, frequently asked questions and suggested responses.

The paper explains how Barratt is integrating BNG into its development lifecycle processes and to help the site selection process, including the production of internal guidance on BNG. It also highlights how IEMA Corporate member Laing O’Rourke worked in partnership with Atkins, VolkerRail and Network Rail on the East-West Rail project, taking a strategic approach to delivery that included applying the mitigation hierarchy, minimising land-take wherever possible and retaining maximum vegetation at the design stage.

Network Rail and Mersey Rivers Trust talk of implementing BNG at the new Headbolt Lane railway station, and how biodiversity can deliver wider benefits. Terence O’Rourke in partnership with The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridge, and Northamptonshire explain what they have done in their housing project near Cambridge to achieve a positive outcome for wildlife and to give the new community at Trumpington Meadows access to nature.

Each section comes with answers to frequently asked questions to try to demystify some of the processes around BNG operations. Questions include:

• ‘Is it a Phase 1 habitat survey that I need to inform my baseline?’

• ‘My site is near a watercourse. What does that mean for BNG?’

• ‘Which scaling factor is applied if the off site is located in the neighbouring local planning authority but the same national character area?’

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