On January 24th DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has finally released and laid before parliament the statutory BNG metric tool to be used by landowners and developers.

Details can be found on the department’s blog by following this link.


“We are pleased to confirm that biodiversity net gain will go live on 12 February 2024. From this date major development (unless otherwise exempt) will have to deliver net gains for biodiversity leading to positive outcomes for nature, better places for local communities and more consistent and transparent requirements for developers.”

 “For landowners, the metric shows the current biodiversity value of your land. It shows how many off-site units you could produce through additional habitat creation or enhancement to sell to developers.

It can also establish how many additional units you may have available to sell to developers should you choose to commence habitat creation or enhancement works in advance, ahead of the development impact.”

See and download the metric tool at the following link.

Which types of development will BNG apply to?

From 12 February 2024, BNG will be mandatory for new planning applications for major development made under the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1990, subject to the confirmed exemptions. Major development includes residential developments with 10 or more dwellings, or where the site area is greater than 0.5 hectares.

BNG for small sites will have an extended transition period and will apply from 2 April 2024. The definition of small sites is summarised below, with the full definition found in the regulations. Small site development includes:

  • Residential development where the number of dwellings is between 1 and 9, or if unknown the site area is less than 0.5 hectares
  • Commercial development where floor space created is less than 1,000 square metres or the total site area is less than 1 hectare

What types of planning permission will BNG apply to?

We have prioritised the introduction of BNG for planning applications – which is the predominant route to securing planning permission. From 12 February, BNG will apply to new applications for planning permission, except for applications for retrospective permission, the exemptions and transitional arrangements set out below.”

BNG and opportunities for golf clubs

The GreenerGolf Network has at the moment a preferred partner on BNG issues.

In May 2023 we held a well-attended seminar for local golf clubs in partnership with EMEC Ecology. For advice and information please contact Ben Jones, Senior Project Manager, on 07511764309, or email at

Additional resources

DEFRA have developed a series of blogs to explain Biodiversity Net Gain:

As land managers, this guidance may also be of interest to golf clubs: