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Feb 16, 2024 | News

England sets a biodiversity benchmark.

For the first time in the world, England has passed legislation that requires all new developments to enhance nature.

The biodiversity net gain legislation came into effect on Tuesday. This means that if habitats have to be destroyed for roads, homes, or other development, they must be replaced with equivalent habitats on site or elsewhere. New habitats should also result in a 10% increase in biodiversity, not just replace what was lost.

It remains to see how the government will monitor the law and enforce it. The Royal Institute of British Architects, however, said that it was a “major shift” for architects who will now be required to “design with the nature”. Scotland, Sweden, and Singapore are reportedly among the nations that will follow England’s lead.

The Wildlife Trusts is a conservation charity that said the law would “make a positive impact on nature’s recovery” and help to address the climate crisis.

Rachel Hackett is the planning and development manager at the company. She said that legislation was lacking ambition. “A gain in 10% will only hold the tide back against nature loss,” said Hackett. “If we are to ensure a real recovery for the nature, we must see at least a 20% gain.”

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