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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.

Mike Palmer, Chairman Waterway Recovery Group

Leaving biodiversity in a better state than before

Biodiversity net gain will be important for waterway restorations in the future

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 and two webinars on the topic. 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.

Currently the Environment Bill (2019) which introduces BNG, along with other considerations has entered the committee stage within the House of Commons. 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, have a look at our resources below

Watch our Waterway Webinar on Biodiversity Net Gain. Recorded June 2020

Biodiversity Net Gain: Getting restorations ready – Recorded October 2020