LAND360 for Housing Developers

LAND360 for Housing Developers

People, Place and Planet:
How science can help house builders achieve sustainability goals


Sustainability plays an integral role in how UK house builders contribute to their communities as well as helping our nation achieve net zero targets.

Developing and delivering frameworks that support the creation of sustainable communities and living environments is already hugely important to house builders, moreso as purchasers also become more environmentally conscious.

With new legislation coming into play from February 2024, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) will play an even greater role in sustainable developments. When understanding the significance of BNG, and its role in implementing sustainable practices, an appreciation for the role of science and ecology in sustainable development will enable house builders to meet their own sustainability agendas as well as enhance the communities they are creating.

What is Biodiversity Net Gain or BNG?

BNG is a way of measuring, monitoring, and mitigating the impact of a development on biodiversity. It’s based on the idea that if development is going to happen, it should be done in a way that mitigates the impact on the local community and surrounding landscape. 

From February 2024, the UK government will be introducing mandatory BNG for new developments agreed under the Town & Country Planning Act (TCPA). This will require house builders to calculate the level of biodiversity on a site before development begins, and then ensure that the new development results in a net gain in biodiversity of at least 10%. This must be maintained for 30 years. This can be achieved through creating places for people and wildlife, such as:

  • Creating new habitats for wildlife
  • Creating green spaces for local communities
  • Selecting plants that encourage biodiversity and pollinators
  • Planting new trees and plants
  • Implementing sustainable drainage systems

To find out about short-term improvements to biodiversity in preparation click here.

Why is BNG Important for House Builders?

BNG is a way of measuring, monitoring, and mitigating the impact of a development on biodiversity. It’s based on the idea that if development is going to happen, it should be done in a way that mitigates the impact on the local community and surrounding landscape. 

Developers need to be aware of BNG because it is becoming an increasingly important part of the planning process. The government mandate dictates that developers who fail to account for BNG in their plans could face delays or even rejection of their applications.

BNG is not just important from a regulatory perspective. It also plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable development. By enhancing biodiversity, developers can create more resilient ecosystems that are better able to cope with the impacts of climate change, such as flooding and heatwaves. In addition, by creating green spaces and wildlife habitats, developers can enhance the wellbeing of residents and promote a sense of community.

Sustainable development is about finding ways to meet the needs of the people and planet today, while also being a solution that works for future generations. This requires a long-term perspective and a commitment to preserving and enhancing natural resources. BNG is an important tool for achieving this goal as it ensures development is done in a responsible way that benefits overarching sustainability targets.


The Role of Science in Understanding Biodiversity and Nature

Implementing BNG requires a solid understanding of the science of biodiversity. Biodiversity is a complex and dynamic ecosystem and understanding it requires a rigorous scientific approach.

House builders need to have access to accurate data on the quality and quantity of biodiversity and nature of a site, as well as a thorough understanding of the ecological processes that support biodiversity. Without this knowledge, designing and implementing effective measures to enhance biodiversity, are extremely difficult.

The success of BNG depends on ongoing monitoring and evaluation. A scientific approach to data collection and analysis is essential. House builders need to be able to measure the impact of their developments on biodiversity and adjust their strategies to ensure they are achieving a net gain. Therefore, a commitment to ongoing research and data collection is required, as well as a willingness to adapt and innovate based on new information.

Benefits of incorporating BNG into housing developments

  • Creating more resilient communities - Preserving and enhancing biodiversity ensures the local natural environment remains healthy and can provide critical ecosystem services such as clean water, air purification, and carbon sequestration. This can help make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, drought, and extreme weather events.
  • Creating more attractive and liveable communities – Nature rich, open spaces can provide important recreational opportunities for residents, as well as improving their overall quality of life. Studies have shown that access to green spaces can have a positive impact on mental health and can help reduce crime rates.
  • Creating a more sustainable and profitable business model for housing developers – By incorporating sustainable practices into wider operations that are better for communities and the environment, housing developers can differentiate themselves from competitors and appeal to house buyers looking to contribute to the UK’s net zero target.

LAND360 measures, monitors, and assesses habitats and resources to identify tangible biodiversity opportunities. 

Combining data and science, LAND360 provides housing developers with the valuable insight to make sustainable land management decisions. 

How can Fera help Navigate BNG Requirements?

At Fera Science, we understand the importance of science in helping house builders meet sustainability, BNG, and carbon reduction targets. Our team of experts can provide a range of services to support developers in their efforts to enhance nature and biodiversity, including habitat assessments, ecological surveys, and biodiversity offsetting.

In 2022, Fera launched LAND360 – a land-assessment services that helps businesses assess biodiversity and natural capital.

LAND360 uses remote sensing technology, spatial analysis and mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map and assess farm and estate land for biodiversity and natural resources. Combining this information with insight from Fera experts allows opportunities for land use to be identified. This is helping futureproof businesses while also helping them prepare for policy change.

This technology has recently been applied to the housing development sector which is helping meet regulatory requirements while also promoting a culture of net zero and enhancing the natural environment.

To find out more about this service or how Fera can support you, get in touch today

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