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BNG – Statutory Biodiversity Credit Calculations

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published guidance on statutory biodiversity credit (SBC) prices to calculate costs for developers of buying SBCs to achieve a development’s mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) in England of at least 10% net gain.

BNG aims to make a new development’s impact on the environment positive, by delivering improvements through habitat creation or enhancement after avoiding or mitigating harm as far as possible. Mandatory BNG will apply to all new planning applications under the town and country planning regime in England that result in loss or degradation of habitat from November 2023 (with a delay for small sites until April 2023).

Buying SBCs is a last resort option for developers who are unable to use on-site or off-site units to deliver BNG. Developers will be able to buy SBCs using a credit sales service, which will be available once BNG becomes mandatory.

The guidance provides indicative SBC prices to help developers plan ahead. Defra will publish confirmed prices when BNG becomes mandatory.

Defra is working on an addition to the biodiversity metric to assist in the SBC calculation, which will also be available when BNG becomes mandatory. It applies a spatial risk multiplier which doubles the amount of credits needed.

Biodiversity credit prices are tiered to reflect the cost and value of different habitats. For example, high distinctiveness BSC unit prices vary according to habitat type from £125,000 to £650,000 (before the special multiplier and VAT).

Defra has not yet published the draft BNG implementing regulations following its February 2023 government response to its 2022 consultation.

Tom Warrender


Tom Warrender


Tom is a Partner and Commercial Property Solicitor with a wealth of experience acting for clients both locally and nationally since 2005.