Berkeley Group Exceeds New Biodiversity Net Gain Requirement

Biodiversity net gain is a positive step for the homebuilding industry & will bring nature back to our towns & cities, says Rob Perrins, Berkeley Group CEO

As part of the Environment Act, new legislation comes into effect in the UK as the government works to reduce harm to nature during developments. The Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirement states that developers in England are now required to deliver 10% Biodiversity Net Gain when building new housing, industrial or commercial developments. For the environment, this means habitats will be left in a better state than they were pre-development. For construction firms, this could mean a shift in practice. 

“Biodiversity Net Gain will help us deliver the beautiful homes the country needs, support wildlife and create great places for people to live,” says Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister.

“This government is going further and faster for nature, since 2010 we have restored an area for nature larger than the size of Dorset, banned micro plastics and set ambitious targets to halt biodiversity decline.

“This vital tool builds on our work to reverse the decline in nature and for everyone to live within a 15-minute walk of a green space or water and will transform how development and nature can work together to benefit communities.”

What does Biodiversity Net Gain look like in practice? 

Over the past five years, UK based construction firm Berkeley Group has built 19,600 homes of all types and tenures in London, Birmingham and across the South of England, and made a £13.8bn contribution to the UK economy. Founded in 1976, the company has spent nearly half a century building quality homes, strengthening communities and improving people’s lives as holistic placemakers, focusing on large-scale brownfield regeneration.

Berkeley Group specialises in working in partnership with local people and councils to build successful places where communities thrive and where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy a great quality of life, creating a bespoke, locally inspired masterplan with individually designed houses.

In 2016, Berkeley Group was the first and only developer to voluntarily commit to biodiversity net gain, resulting in 54 developments being on track to deliver BNG. With all sites prioritising BNG for the past seven years, the majority of its sites far exceed the 10% minimum threshold set for the sector – averaging over 100% biodiversity net gain. Across its portfolio, the Group will create 550 acres of new or measurably improved natural habitats across its portfolio, including 55 acres of living roofs, 235 acres of woodland and 150 acres of nature-rich grassland. 

“Biodiversity net gain is a positive step for the homebuilding industry and will bring nature back to our towns and cities,” says Rob Perrins, CEO of Berkeley Group. 

“At Berkeley it's been a huge pleasure to see each biodiverse master plan gradually maturing into a vividly beautiful and hugely popular place. We’ve learnt that natural landscapes are more resilient to climate change and are more engaging than traditionally designed green open space, becoming a real source of joy, pride and community activism of the most uplifting kind.” 

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