Home » Start-up launches digital BNG tool for SME developers

Start-up launches digital BNG tool for SME developers

by Mark Cantrell
A tech start-up has officially launched what it claims is the first digital tool designed to help SME developers meet new laws on biodiversity net gain

A tech start-up has officially launched what it claims is the first digital tool designed to help SME developers meet new laws on biodiversity net gain (BNG).

Joe’s Blooms has launched the tool today, ahead of the new policy becoming mandatory for small development sites from 2 April.

BNG requires property developers to invest in measures that increase the amount of plants and wildlife in the local area by 10%. Introduced by the Environment Act 2021, the rules have been coming into effect this year, becoming mandatory for large sites in February.

Under the the new statutory requirements, property developers must produce a ‘Biodiversity Gain Plan’ (BGP). Once ready, the BGP must be approved by the local planning authority (LPA) to allow development to begin.

The Biodiversity Net Gain Tool is said to streamlines the BNG process, producing in minutes all the site-specific data, and legal documents developers of small sites need to secure planning permission under the scheme.

The tool produces a BGP, and all the supplementary documents needed to submit a planning application to the LPA, including a completed biodiversity metric.

Joe’s Blooms has developed the tool in partnership with Planning Portal, the UK Green Building Council, and UKHAB. It will be made available on Planning Portal as developers go through the application process.

Oliver Lewis, chief executive and founder of Joe’s Blooms, said: “As an industry leading solution, the BNG Tool is designed to help developers boost biodiversity and secure planning permission at a fraction of the cost – with no need to delay things or spend thousands on expensive external consultants.

“With the support of our partners including Planning Portal, we’ve built an innovative, hassle free toolkit that will guide applications through the full BNG process, ensuring they meet all the legal requirements to submit their planning application and enhance their local environment.”

Scott Alford, head of business development at Planning Portal, said: “We are very pleased to see the release of Joe’s Blooms’ comprehensive Biodiversity Net Gain tool. Over the last three years, Planning Portal has worked in partnership with Joe’s Blooms to help ensure all applicants have a trusted tool that will allow them to understand and meet their BNG responsibilities, for every project up and down the country.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of policy and market insight at the National Federation of Builders, added: “We wholeheartedly welcome this simple and affordable solution that allows small sites to complete BNG quickly and get back to building the homes and infrastructure we need.”

Research by Joe’s Blooms suggests that BNG will create over 23,500 football pitches worth of natural habitat each year, and this green space will in turn absorb up to 650,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – the equivalent of nearly 200,000 round trip flights from London to New York.

Image credit: Ernesto Rodriguez/Pixabay


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