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RTPI echoes National Audit Office’s concerns over lack of support for Biodiversity Net Gain implementation

RTPI echoes National Audit Office's concerns over lack of support for Biodiversity Net Gain implementation

The National Audit Office has stated new Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements have been launched without all the necessary elements for successful implementation.

In February, as BNG laws came into effect, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)  noted that 81% of planners in the public sector needed further ‘guidance, advice, and support’, 68% of all planners needed more staff and skills, and 61% require more case studies of best practice, according to a survey of RTPI members.

The RTPI is closely monitoring BNG’s impacts on the planning system. The Institute is encouraging members to share their experiences by filling out its BNG survey and sharing case studies of best practice.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: “Our members in public and private sectors said that they felt unprepared for Biodiversity Net Gain in the lead up to its implementation. We worked to voice these concerns to the government, calling for clear guidance on BNG and sufficient resources to local planning authorities operating this new system.

“We would like to see the implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain succeed and are pleased that our engagement on this subject helped secure further funding for planning services to implement BNG.

“However, the conclusions outlined by the NAO today reflect what our members have been consistently telling us for some time: that planning services have not been given sufficient guidance, advice, and support, and lack the staff and skills to avoid delays to an already stretched planning system. We strongly support the principles of BNG, but any new burdens to the planning system need to be adequately supported. “We agree with the recommendations made by the NAO. To facilitate local delivery, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs must ensure local authorities have sufficient funding, monitor the biodiversity units market, identify regional impacts, and work with planners and ecologists to coordinate best practice among local authorities.”

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024