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Biodiversity Net Gain – is it relevant to pre 2024 planning applications?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

In a recent appeal decision from the Planning Inspectorate outline planning permission was refused for the erection of a care home (Class C2) together with associated infrastructure, parking and access. The application was dated 24 January 2022.

One of the issues raised at appeal was biodiversity net gain (BNG). The appellant was of the view that BNG only applied to planning applications from January 2024 and therefore did not apply to this appeal.

The inspector stated that paragraph 174 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (September 2023) required that decisions should contribute to and enhance the local environment in a number of ways, including provision of BNG. Therefore, BNG needed to be demonstrated for the development, even if the application was submitted prior to the mandatory BNG requirements coming into effect on 12 February 2024.

The inspector considered that it had not been demonstrated that the proposal would provide the necessary BNG and as such the inspector was unable to conclude that the proposed development would provide a net gain in biodiversity value. This conflicted with the development plan which said that development should, wherever practicable, be designed to enhance biodiversity as well as conserve on-site biodiversity corridors. The proposal also conflicted with the neighbourhood plan which required new development to be designed to enhance biodiversity on the site and relevant parts of the NPPF.

Due to the level of uncertainty regarding the ability of the proposal to deliver BNG, the inspector did not think it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with through a planning condition.

The appeal was dismissed.

Source: Reference: APP/H1840/W/23/3319716 (

This case is of concern to those applicants who are awaiting the outcome of pre 2024 planning applications, who may well have believed the BNG was not a concern for them.

Ika Částka


Ika Částka

Senior Partner

Ika is Head of the Commercial Property team and has been advising individuals and businesses across Northamptonshire since 1986, specialising in commercial, agricultural and rural property matters for both businesses and individuals.