The Importance of Biodiversity Net Gain, HLM Architects

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is a way of creating and improving natural habitats. BNG makes sure development has a measurably positive impact (‘net gain’) on biodiversity, compared to what was there before development.

BNG legislation came into force on the 12th of February 2024 for major developments requiring to meet a 10% net gain and for smaller sites from the 2nd April 2024.

In England, BNG is mandatory under Schedule 7A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as inserted by Schedule 14 of the Environment Act 2021). Developers must deliver a BNG of 10% for a site’s re-development


But why is BNG vitally important?

Marian Spain,

Chief Executive. Natural England said in the BNG ‘An Introduction to Benefits”

“As the twin climate and ecological crises deepen there is an increasing need to accelerate nature recovery, for our planet, our wildlife and our communities. Biodiversity net gain offers a new route for development of homes, businesses and infrastructure to play its part in enabling nature to thrive, and to deliver nature-based solutions to climate change, water and air quality and flood risks. It can also help level up access to nature and provide accessible green space on the doorstep of new homes and further afield.”

At HLM Architects we are passionate about putting biodiversity at the forefront of our design decisions.

Climate change

BNG can help communities adapt to climate change by increasing resilience to extremes of weather, helping to improve air, water quality. BNG can help mitigate climate change through the restoration and protection of nature. For example, additional woodland creation will help absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.


The new BNG legislation is critical because it contributes towards nature recovery by enhancing existing or creating new habitats in which species can thrive and in doing so can help wildlife adapt to climate change.

People & Places

Green infrastructure can have restorative qualities, helping to improve our mental health and well-being. BNG will help create new or enhanced existing greenspaces, bringing accessible nature to our doorsteps and providing space for social interaction, helping to reduce isolation and stress.


BNG can help to create greener neighbourhoods that are more attractive places to live and work.  Restoring habitats through BNG can help to deliver wider economic benefits and increase financial and natural capital asset values.

For landowners BNG can create long-term income opportunities through investment in habitat management. BNG generates sustainable and long-term financing for habitat management and maintenance, helping to provide employment in the environmental sector.


How are HLM Architects making a difference?

At HLM, we are passionate about putting biodiversity at the forefront of our design decisions. Working collaboratively with our clients and project ecologists to fulfil the metric requirements on all scales, varieties, regions within our vast portfolio.

Our Landscape team can offer:

  • Careful collaboration with clients, project ecologists to help you navigate through BNG challenges and opportunities;
  • We will work early with project ecologists to ensure early net gains are achievable on site first, understanding the importance of conducting a preliminary assessment lead by the ecologists;
  • Our team can work with you to maximise wider benefits of the 30-year management requirement by helping clients to incorporate community involvement, management expertise helping to harness wider community awareness and care for green infrastructure;
  • We work well with project ecologists to help develop detailed planting palettes, promoting native species specification;
  • Our team will carefully collaborate with project ecologists to deliver Habitat Management and Monitoring Plans (HMMP) for BNG; and
  • The landscape team will author Landscape Management Plans (LMP) and Landscape and Ecological Management Plans (LEMP) to support BNG implementation, working closely with ecologists.

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