2023-09-27 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-66927242?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA

Raw: [Environmentalists say delaying the implementation of new biodiversity rules is “a hammer blow for nature”.] BBC HomepageSkip to contentAccessibility HelpYour accountHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureMore menuMore menuSearch BBCHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSoundsClose menuBBC NewsMenuHomeWar in UkraineClimateVideoWorldUS & CanadaUKBusinessTechScienceMoreEntertainment & ArtsHealthIn PicturesBBC VerifyWorld News TVNewsbeatScienceGovernment to delay new environmental building rulesPublished4 hours agoShareclose panelShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, PA MediaImage caption, Developers and housebuilders are preparing to deliver biodiversity net gainBy Claire Marshall & Malcolm PriorBBC News Rural Affairs teamThe government is delaying putting into effect new environmental laws forcing developers to improve countryside and wildlife habitats, the BBC has learned.Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) was meant to become a mandatory part of the planning system in England in November.But government sources told the BBC it will now not be introduced this year.Environmentalists have lamented the delay. The government said it was still committed to the policy and would soon announce a new implementation date. The Wildlife Trusts called the delay “another hammer blow for nature”.BNG policy was approved as part of the 2021 Environment Act. The rules are designed to ensure developers leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand. The delay comes after weeks of political uncertainty on environmental policy, with the government looking to throw out “nutrient neutrality” pollution rules and to water down policy on achieving net zero.The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), an industry body that promotes sustainable development, said any delayed implementation of BNG would “hurt green businesses and development”.Richard Benwell, CEO of environmental coalition group Wildlife & Countryside Link, said net gain had “already been pared back to the bare minimum to offset the habitat harm caused by new development”.He added that a delay “could strike at the foundations” of the scheme.Image source, BBC/Malcolm PriorImage caption, The new rules would see a wildlife habitats created across EnglandThe Home Builders Federation said developers “have embraced the principle of biodiversity net gain” but that there were “significant gaps” in government guidance.Neil Jefferson, the federation's managing director, said that would “not only prohibit local authorities' abilities to effectively manage this new requirement but inevitably lead to further delays in the planning process”. “We need government to deliver on its requirements so that industry can provide these huge environmental benefits alongside desperately needed new homes,” he said.Philip Box, UKGBC's public affairs and policy advisor, added: “Businesses from across the industry and our membership have raised concerns regarding any potential delay. “This would be exceptionally damaging for them in terms of projected work pipelines, investment, supply chains, and related job roles.”As part of planning permission, under the new rules developers will have to agree to delivering a biodiversity gain, on or off site, set at a minimum of 10%.Image source, BBC/Claire MarshallImage caption, Georgia Stokes, CEO of Somerset Wildlife Trust, was 'shocked' by news of the delayHabitats and wildlife impacted by development would be given a biodiversity value using a government-developed metric 'calculator': from native hedgerows and hay meadows, which support dozens of species and merit a high unit value, down to less habitat-rich cropland, and derelict land, which would be awarded a low value. Sue Young, head of land use planning for The Wildlife Trusts, said they had wanted any gain to be set at 20% and said any delay now would “cause uncertainty for developers and could affect the quality of schemes”.”Attempts to delay or weaken rules for biodiversity net gain would deliver yet another hammer blow for nature from the current UK government,” she added.Georgia Stokes, CEO at Somerset Wildlife Trust, added: “It feels unnecessary for there to be a delay and we're quite shocked that that's where we've ended up. We need the government to take action.” Government 'fully committed'Meanwhile, the Local Government Association (LGA) has called on government to confirm what funding council planners will be given when BNG finally becomes law.A survey earlier this month by the Royal Town Planning Institute found more than 60% of public sector planning departments were unable to confirm they would have the necessary resources and expertise in place to deliver the scheme.Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA said: “Councils are concerned about the impact of further delays on their ability to effectively implement BNG. “Councils urgently need confirmation of go-live dates, essential guidance and definitions and a clear timetable of funding in order to employ additional staff and invest in the expertise and capacity.”A spokesman for the government said it had already committed more than £15m to help local councils prepare and recruit new specialists to deliver the scheme.He added: “We are fully committed to biodiversity net gain which will have benefits for people and nature. We will set out more details on implementation timings shortly.”Related TopicsBiodiversityMore on this storyGet a grip on pollution rules, government toldPublished5 days agoLords sink plan to axe homebuilding pollution rulesPublished14 SeptemberPollution rules to be scrapped to build more homesPublished29 AugustTop StoriesAt least 100 dead in fire at wedding party in IraqPublished18 minutes agoTrump liable for fraud in New York civil case – judgePublished1 hour agoOne quarter of Karabakh's ethnic Armenians fleePublished6 hours agoFeatures'They bombed everywhere': Survivors recount Karabakh attackYoung people sue 32 countries over climate change'My dream was to wear whatever I wanted'Fifa's name change to EA Sports FC is big gambleThe election with India and China on the ballotAir India 1985 bombing back in news after Canada rowThe costly economic practice here to stayWhy massive shoes are the trend of 2023'France takes us for idiots' – Inside coup-hit NigerElsewhere on the BBCHow I rewired my brain in six weeksA 'beach towel revolt' sweeping GreeceThe rise of 'finfluencers'Most Read1Trump liable for fraud in New York civil case – judge2At least 100 dead in fire at wedding party in Iraq3Biden dog bites another Secret Service agent4Canada's Speaker quits after Nazi in parliament row5Air India 1985 bombing back in news after Canada row68 mile actor Nashawn Breedlove dies aged 467Kevin McCarthy's job on the line as shutdown looms8Fact-checking Trump claim that wind turbines kill whales9Russian video 'shows fleet commander alive'10Assault trial begins for ex-fashion mogul NygardBBC News ServicesOn your mobileOn smart speakersGet news alertsContact BBC NewsHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSoundsTerms of UseAbout the BBCPrivacy PolicyCookiesAccessibility HelpParental GuidanceContact the BBCGet Personalised NewslettersWhy you can trust the BBCAdvertise with us© 2023 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.