A Guide to Biodiversity Net Gain


It’s a huge topic of conversation in the industry at the moment, but lets start with discussing the basics. What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a concept which aims to enhance and improve biodiversity in an area through development projects. Simply put, it is the intention to increase the ecological value of the area rather than letting it be diminished through development. We want to encourage a joyful and meaningful relationship with nature, and to ensure we’re creating the best spaces possible across all sectors in the built environment.

Biodiversity Net Gain requires quantifying the existing ecological value, assessing the impact of development, and then implementing measures to enhance biodiversity. This scope of works is going to be mandatory for most development projects following the Environment Bill 2020, and will apply from November 2023. New developments will be required to demonstrate at least 10% increase in biodiversity on or near development sites.

What are the Key Principles of Biodiversity Net Gain?

Green Infrastructure

Biodiversity net gain often involves the creation or enhancement of green infrastructure, such as parks, gardens, green roofs, and urban forests. We work to integrate the information provided by ecologists into the design of the built environment, providing habitat for various species.

Habitat Creation

We aim to design and implement habitats that support a wide range of species.

This may include incorporating native plants, creating ponds or wetlands, and integrating features like bird boxes or insect hotels to provide nesting sites. Putting nature at the heart of placemaking.

Connectivity and Corridors

Biodiversity net gain emphasizes the importance of creating connectivity between different habitats. We always aim to design green corridors and networks that allow for the movement of wildlife, helping to maintain genetic diversity and prevent fragmentation of ecosystems.

Monitoring and Management

Monitoring the success of biodiversity net gain measures and managing the ongoing maintenance of green spaces. This may include implementing management plans, conducting ecological surveys, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of biodiversity enhancements. We strongly advocate that clients allow for long-term management as part of the landscape design process.

Timeframe and Permanence

Recognising the importance of long-term sustainability. It aims to ensure that biodiversity enhancements are maintained over the long term, accounting for potential changes and ensuring the permanence of the gains achieved.

We aim to create environments that will last generations.

Multiple Benefits

Biodiversity net gain not only benefits wildlife and ecosystems but also provides several additional advantages.

These include improved air and water quality, enhanced resilience to climate change, increased recreational opportunities, and improved health and well-being.

It’s worth noting that the exact principles and approaches to BNG may vary depending on regional and national contexts, as well as specific project requirements. These principles provide a general framework for understanding the key aspects of biodiversity net gain. Please see the links at the bottom of this article for more detailed information or get in touch with us- we’d be happy to answer any questions.

The Role of Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture plays a significant role in implementing the principles of Biodiversity Net Gain. We play a crucial role in designing and implementing strategies to achieve biodiversity net gain. We work through all the measures needed to enhance Biodiversity, to identify potential impacts of development, and create design solutions that maximize biodiversity value.

We prioritize establishing a close working relationship with project ecologists right from the start. We engage in regular and direct communication to ensure a cohesive approach. We translate these recommendations into precise technical plans, documents, and reports required for the projects. Our collaboration with project ecologists enables us to gain comprehensive insights and discern the short and long-term opportunities for achieving a net gain in a given scheme. Our collective efforts are focused on achieving substantial environmental benefits.

At Deacon Design, we have always aimed to create schemes which integrate nature into urban environments through Green Infrastructure and strong ecological design. We have a varied background and a great deal of expertise in designing sustainable and ecologically diverse spaces. Additionally, we have considerable experience and a wealth of knowledge with working with ecologists and other specialist consultants, and are therefore able to ensure the best results possible.

Advantages of Biodiversity Net Gain

The list of advantages of BNG could keep you scrolling for hours, so instead, we are just going to share a small selection to give you the best idea of what could be achieved and why it’s important. Implementing the principles of Biodiversity Net Gain would enhance ecosystem services and ecological habitats, offer a positive impact on a corporate scale, as well as having a positive impact on our well being and mental health.


By enhancing biodiversity net gain, the resilience of ecosystems to environmental changes and disturbances will be vastly improved. Increased biodiversity provides a buffer against species loss, improves ecosystem stability, and adds to the capacity to adapt to future challenges such as climate change.

Biodiversity net gain recognizes the crucial role of ecosystems in providing valuable services to society, such as clean air and water, pollination, soil fertility, and climate regulation. By following the principles for BNG, these services are protected and strengthened, leading to improved well-being and sustainable development.

Ecological Habitats

BNG prioritizes the conservation of biodiversity by ensuring that development projects result in a net positive impact on ecosystems. It helps to safeguard and enhance habitats, species, and ecological functions, thereby promoting the long-term viability of natural systems.

Biodiversity net gain emphasizes the enhancement and restoration of habitats. This improves the quality of habitats for various species, supporting their survival, reproduction, and overall population health. It also contributes to the creation of ecological corridors and connectivity, allowing for the movement of species and the exchange of genetic material.

Economic Benefits & Public Support

Economic benefits through the creation of green infrastructure, restoration projects, and ecotourism opportunities will be generated by the implementation of BNG. It can provide employment opportunities, stimulate local economies, and contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources.

Biodiversity net gain encourages stakeholder engagement and involvement in decision-making processes related to development projects. This approach fosters transparency, accountability, and public participation, which can lead to greater acceptance and support for development initiatives. Whilst the involvement of the public is a practice we aim for on our projects, BNG offers a more positive impact and helps outweigh a great deal of the typical negative feedback.

Health & Well-being

Biodiversity net gain creates opportunities for people to interact with and enjoy nature. It aims to keep the joy in developments and create spaces where people want to be. When development projects prioritize biodiversity enhancements, they often incorporate green spaces, parks, and natural areas within and around urban environments. These spaces provide individuals with access to nature, allowing for recreational activities, relaxation, and improved mental well-being.

To summarise, by prioritising biodiversity net gain, development projects not only provide ecological benefits but also create spaces that promote the health and well-being of the individuals who use them. The integration of nature into urban landscapes can help counteract the negative effects of urbanization and contribute to creating healthier, more livable communities.

For more information and further resources, follow the links below:

#BiodiversityNetGain #Education #ChooseLandscape