As noted previously, it is likely that BNG legislation will have a transition period to allow developers and LPAs to become familiar with the concept and requirement before legal enforcement is imposed. Assuming the touted two-year interim period is correct, this coupled with the transition of the Environment Bill through Parliament will mean that a minimum of three years warning has been given. Consequently, any developer taking a proposal forward after this time, will have no excuses for not factoring in the BNG requirements and costs.
Local Authorities who have jumped the gun, have in the main, not given sufficient advance notice to planning applicants and developers, especially those who might have purchased / taken options on land a few years ago and have recently brought proposal forward and consequently are finding it nigh on impossible to include BNG within development sites. This is compounded by Planning Officers who do not really understand the commercial aspects of development, or LPAs which have not worked out the alternatives to on-site BNG and / or provided routes to offset BNG via compensation payments.
Whilst some LPAs have calculated offset / compensation payments which should in theory permit developers unable to provide on-site BNG with a route through the maze, planners are still trying to insist upon on-site provision and telling developers to reduce the number of units…
It is not only developers who are struggling with this impasse, but there are a number of unforeseen, and highly significant implications for LPAs as a result of this –
➢ LPAs must have a viable five-year land supply – if sites are not going to be able to generate the number of homes based on the previously housing density, there are going to be serious repercussions as five-year land supplies are challenged at appeal / hearings by developers.
➢ Each LPA has a Government target to create ‘X’ number of new homes – This target will inevitably be missed, thus increasing pressure on Councils
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