28 April 2020

A shift from ‘infrastructure versus nature’, to an approach where infrastructure is designed, built and maintained in ways that benefit our environment, has led to the publication of a new guidance note by IWA. Written by IWA’s Restoration Hub team,  Introducing Biodiversity Net Gain to Waterway Restorations is designed to support waterway restoration projects with future development opportunities.

Managing impacts on biodiversity has long been part of infrastructure development. However, declarations on the joint climate and biodiversity crisis by private and public sector organisations escalated during 2019, placing biodiversity loss, and the need to address it, at the centre of political and public discussions. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) looks to be the answer.

The concept is simple as the approach leaves biodiversity in a measurably better state than before. BNG will fundamentally change the way we approach Waterway Restoration in the future. Where previously biodiversity and the environment would have been an afterthought or a nice ‘added extra’, BNG will require developers and construction organisations to put biodiversity at the heart of all activities from project inception to the aftercare.

Mike Palmer, IWA Trustee says “Biodiversity Net Gain is an opportunity in waiting for Waterway Restoration and canals in general. BNG will give us the tools to really demonstrate the positive impact waterway restoration can offer to the environment and will allow us to talk to larger organisations looking to make their own improvements locally.”

Currently the Environment Bill (2019) which introduces BNG, along with other considerations has entered the committee stage within the House of Commons despite the COVID-19 situation.  Whilst implementation of BNG will almost certainly not be an immediate, we expect over the coming years to see the key concepts and guidance from BNG to be transposed into planning law.

To find out more about how Biodiversity Net Gain will affect Waterway Restoration, download our guidance below.

You can also sign up to our Biodiversity Net Gain webinar taking place on the 11th June at 12.30pm.


Biodiversity net gain for canal restoration