30 Jun 2022 | Online
09:30am - 15:30pm

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The Government is continuing to impose tighter environmental regulations on the development and construction industry to protect the natural environment. The much-anticipated Environment Act 2021 brings in the introduction of a mandatory 10 per cent biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirement on every planning permission granted in England, no matter how big or small. BNG which will not be enforced until late 2023 at the earliest, will put nature and biodiversity centre stage of all future development projects. Are developers, landowners and local authorities ready for the mandating of BNG?

The House Briefing will explore the key elements of the BNG policy and its implications on new housing and major infrastructure developments. Hear first-hand from the Government, policy experts and leaders in industry who will share their insight and offer practical guidance to prepare and be ready for the new mandatory BNG requirements. 

Key Takeaways:

  • How will BNG be incorporated into the planning system of England?

  • What will BNG mean for local authorities, developers and landowners?

  • Who is responsible for creating net gain and then managing and maintaining it long-term?

  • How will biodiversity be measured and whose responsibility will it be to measure it?

  • What are the costs involved?

  • What are the options for offsite biodiversity?


Chair's introduction

Harry Banton, Principal Political Consultant, Dods Group


Keynote address: Environment Act 2021 – Biodiversity Net Gain: Latest update

Rebecca Pow MP, Minister for the Environment


Biodiversity net gain - benefits and challenges

  • Highlight the significant benefits of BNG investment 
  • Recap on BNG and intended process
  • Consider the challenges in maximising benefits whilst enabling day 1 readiness

Melanie Hughes, Sustainable Development Programme Director, Natural England


What does BNG mean for the planning system in England?

  • Incorporating BNG within the planning system
  • How the planning system can support BNG
  • Practical implications for LPAs and housebuilders including SMEs

Rebecca Moberly, Principal Consultant – Environment, Planning Advisory Service (PAS), Local Government Association




Case study: Lessons learnt in delivering BNG

Neil Butler, Development Officer – Planning Policy, Cornwall Council

Dr Helen Fearnley, County Ecologist, Cornwall Council

Robert Lacey, Planning Policy Group Leader, Cornwall Council


Panel discussion: Delivering through collaboration

  • What can planning departments do to prepare for BNG
  • Exploring mechanisms for BNG delivery
  • Management, monitoring and enforcement of BNG
  • Communicating the benefits of BNG
  • Ensuring biodiversity initiatives are having the intended positive impact

Faye Durkin, Head of Ecology & Regional Director, Ecus Ltd

Paul Hadaway, Director of Conservation, Kent Wildlife Trust

Rebecca Moberly, Principal Consultant – Environment, Planning Advisory Service (PAS), Local Government Association

David Partridge, Chairman, Related Argent


Lunch break


Opportunities for offsite BNG

  • BNG and the spatial hierarchy – when does offsite BNG makes sense?

  • What offsite BNG solutions are available?

  • Habitat banking – how does it work?

  • How can we ensure BNG delivers nature recovery?

Emma Toovey, Director of Ecology, Environment Bank


Case study: Lessons learnt in delivering BNG

David Lowe, Delivery Lead: Ecology, Historic Environment & Landscape, Warwickshire County Council


Panel discussion: Developing for our future: Beyond BNG

  • Maintaining long-term environmental benefits from BNG
  • Approaches to stewardship
  • Funding for long-term management
  • What happens to the improvement after the 30 years maintenance period?

Joe Heath, Development Manager, Environmental Lead

Ben Kite, Managing Director, Ecological Planning & Research Ltd (EPR)

David Lowe, Delivery Lead: Ecology, Historic Environment & Landscape, Warwickshire County Council

Jason Reeves, Head of Policy, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment (CIEEM)


Chair’s closing remarks


Event close


Rebecca Pow MP
Minister for the Environment​​​​​​​

Rebecca Pow was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 10 September 2019. 

Rebecca was previously a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport between 23 May 2019 and 10 September 2019. 

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Nature Recovery and the Domestic Environment) responsibilities include: 

  • domestic natural environment 
  • floods and water 
  • 25 Year Environment Plan, including input on Environmental Land Management design 
  • Environment Bill 
  • lead for Environment Agency and Natural England 
  • Commons Minister for water, international environment, forestry and rural 
Dr Helen Fearnley
County Ecologist, Cornwall Council

Helen is Cornwall Council’s only ecologist with over 15 years cross sector experience that spans consultancy, freelance ecology, academia, teaching, funded EU and HLF environmental, and ecological project roles. She has co-authored a technical book and acts as a reviewer for various herpetological journals and bulletins.  

In her current position, Helen has been working closely with the planning policy, development management and strategic environment teams on the delivery and rollout of Biodiversity Net Gain (concept, guidance and metric specifics) across the LPA.  

Rebecca Moberly
Principal Consultant – Environment, Planning Advisory Service (PAS), Local Government Association

Rebecca is a Principal Consultant at the Planning Advisory Service (PAS), which she joined in March 2021. She is leading a project to help local authorities prepare for mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) under the Environment Act. She has over 17 years’ experience in environmental planning roles with Natural England, including initiating and piloting projects to develop new ways of working, such as district level licensing for great crested newts and BNG, as well as training others and partnership working. Prior to joining PAS, she was seconded to the Environment Agency, leading the Local Natural Capital Plan (LNCP) for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc and as the Agency’s Director for the Arc. 

Emma Toovey
Director of Ecology, Environment Bank

Emma Toovey is the Ecology Director at Environment Bank. In this role, Emma manages a team of ecological experts and land managers responsible for the delivery of an extensive network of habitat creation projects (habitat banks) across England that enables developers to meet their Biodiversity Net Gain consenting requirements through the sale of Biodiversity Net Gain credits.  BNG credits give developers a simple, risk-free way to implement BNG and at the same time provides the opportunity for landowners to diversify their business, unlocking sustainable development and restoring nature at scale. As a trained ecologist, Emma has 20 years of ecological consultancy experience across diverse industries, specifically the development sector, working with landowners, developers, planning authorities and a range of stakeholders in the development consenting process including the assessment and delivery of BNG. Emma ensures that sound ecological principles and technical integrity underpin the decision making processes at Environment Bank. 

Jason Reeves
Head of Policy, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM)

Jason Reeves is currently Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), where he is responsible for policy and advocacy. He sits on the advisory board of Teach the Future, and is a Trustee of Wildlife and Countryside Link and of UK Youth for Nature. He has over 15 years’ experience in the environmental sector and is a Chartered Environmentalist.

Harry Banton
Principal Political Consultant, Dods Group; Consultant, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Harry Banton is Dods' Principal Political Consultant for Housing, Communities, Faith and Local Government, mirroring the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This wide brief means he provides finger-on-the-pulse analysis to a broad range of charities, religious organisations, private businesses, and public bodies.  

Before joining the Dods Group Harry most recently worked on the Conservative London Mayoral campaign. He holds an MSC in International Security and Risk as well as an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations.   

Neil Butler
Development Officer – Planning Policy, Cornwall Council

Neil has a degree in Environment Policy from Sheffield Hallam University and has worked as a Development Officer for Cornwall Council.  In recent years he has been in the Planning Policy Team where he has worked closely with the Natural Environment team on the pre-mandate delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain and the development of Natural Climate Solutions Policies for Cornwall Council’s Climate Emergency DPD. 

Faye Durkin
Head of Ecology & Regional Director, Ecus Ltd

Faye is the Head of Ecology for Ecus Ltd and leads the companies 70+ nationwide team of ecologists. She has been a professional ecologist for almost 15 years and has worked on many large scale and interesting projects during that time, including the development of Europe’s largest M&S Eco Store at Cheshire Oaks, Manchester United Training Ground and many projects on behalf of Network Rail. She has designed many mitigation and compensation schemes for protected species including bats, badgers, water voles and great crested newts for a range of residential developers including Keepmoat Homes, Barratt David Wilson and Jones Homes. More recently she directed a Pilot Project researching biodiversity net gain compensation provision on behalf of Natural England and led a team in developing a new biodiversity metric tool for the Environment Agency. Faye is the current Chair of the Yorkshire and North East Branch of Women in Property and champions their Student Awards and Outreach Programmes.

Paul Hadaway
Director of Conservation, Kent Wildlife Trust

25 years experience in UK conservation across public and voluntary sectors, much of it working in Kent. Started as a site manager, warden, project manager, programme manager and now Director at KWT. Responsible for strategic direction across the Trust focussing on our response to climate and nature crises and creating long-term climate resilience in landscapes and habitats through nature-based solutions (NbS). This includes the application of NbS finance into conservation delivery, particularly carbon finance, Nutrient Neutrality and BNG – ensuring BNG is applied effectively within the mitigation hierarchy and provides genuine habitat improvements. 

Joe Heath
Development Manager, Environmental Lead

Joe is an environmentalist and most of his career has been related to the acquisition of Green Infrastructure which attaches to Town Planning consents. Having 7 years’ experience on the design and acquisition of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces, Joe leads on the acquisition of environmental sites in the south of England and delivery of environmental services on behalf of land management charity, the Land Trust. Over the last 2 years, he has been exploring how Land Trust can deliver BNG on its existing portfolio of > 2,800 ha and future sites. Joe is an advocate of in perpetuity net gain and draws parallels between SANG and BNG, using lessons learnt to inform legal and management structures, funding models, in perpetuity delivery.

Melanie Hughes
Sustainable Development Programme Director, Natural England

Melanie Hughes is Sustainable Development Programme Director in Natural England ( NE, an arms length body in the Defra group).  This programme provides significant opportunities to deliver the Environment Act ambitions in a place through more effective use of NE’s planning and species licensing levers. Over the next five years she is responsible for driving more effectively planned, high environmental quality development and infrastructure at a local level; supporting the shaping of net gain policy and implementation to deliver ambitions on the Nature Recovery Network; embedding Green infrastructure and Natural Capital Planning ;  reforming species licensing to better reflect outcomes for conservation and developing strategic approaches to widespread environmental issues such as water quality.  Melanie has worked across Natural England and its founding bodies as Area Manager, in Marine casework and Delivery of Agri-environment schemes. She started her career in crop protection following a master’s degree, undertook agricultural research in Egypt and spent 5 years breeding bumble bees commercially for pollination in Holland. She is an international disaster relief volunteer, on call to assess the needs for emergency shelter and food in disaster situations most recently in Moldova.  

Robert Lacey
Planning Policy Group Leader, Cornwall Council

Robert is the Planning Policy Group Leader for Cornwall Council. He is a chartered Town Planner and has worked in planning for 25 years in roles in Gloucestershire and Cornwall including time in Development Management, Neighbourhood Planning and Planning Policy. As a planner, he has a specific interest in promoting good place-making through the planning and development process, and his current work involves exploring approaches to addressing climate change through planning, neighbourhood planning, green infrastructure and design and working across disciplines and sectors to help create healthier, more liveable and distinctive places in Cornwall. 

Ben Kite
Managing Director, Ecological Planning & Research Ltd (EPR)

Ben is the Managing Director of Ecological Planning & Research Ltd (EPR) and a Chartered Ecologist with over 16 years of experience in carrying out ecological impact assessments for some of the largest development projects in the country. He has also worked on a variety of landscape-scale habitat creation and restoration schemes (including Biodiversity Net Gain projects) for both public and private sector clients, and appeared on BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ in May 2019 to be interviewed about emerging BNG policies. Ben has been a contributing author to new National guidance from Natural England (NE) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) on how air pollution affects semi-natural habitats, and has contributed to guidance produced by IEMA on soils in EIA. He is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and is now Chair-Elect of the Strategic Policy Panel Sub Committee.

David Lowe
Delivery Lead: Ecology, Historic Environment & Landscape, Warwickshire County Council

David manages an expanding team of 14 Ecological, 4 Historic Environment and 3 Landscape Officers. The Ecology Unit provides Development Management and Strategic Planning advice to both internally and external Local Authorities partners. The Ecology Team won the CIEEM Local Planning Authority of the Year 2019 award for its implementation and advocacy of Biodiversity Net Gain since 2012-2014, it pioneering 'Connectivity Mapping' that places Landscape Ecology, Biodiversity Net Gain and Species Conservation at the heart of sub-regional and national Green Infrastructure Strategies. So far, Local Authority partners have secured £5+ million and created/restored over 100ha of wildlife habitat across Warwickshire.   


WCC is now piloting the integration of Great Crested Newt District Licencing into the Defra Metric to grant licences on permission as well as developing a Natural Capital Investment Strategy and Implementation Plan. The aim is the establishment Ecosystem Service markets such as Nutrient Balancing, Carbon, Air Quality and Flood that deliver Nature-based Solutions.  


David Partridge
Chairman, Related Argent

David joined Argent in 1990, he was appointed Joint Chief Executive in 2006 and Managing Partner of the new Argent LLP in 2012 and became Senior Partner in 2019. He is now Chairman of the Related Argent Partnership.  

David is President of the British Property Federation and a Trustee of the UKGBC. He is a Past President of the British Council for Offices, was one of the founding members and now ex-Chairman of both the Piccadilly Partnership in Manchester and the King’s Cross and St Pancras Business Partnership Ltd and is ex-Chairman of CityCo in Manchester.  

David read architecture at Cambridge and is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and has served on a number of RIBA practice committees.  

David recently won Estates Gazette’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to Property Award 2019’. In May 2015, David was awarded NW Insider Property Personality of the Year, and in April 2014, David jointly won the Property Week Personality of the Year Award with Roger Madelin.  

Who should attend?
  • Construction companies and developers
  • Landowners
  • Local planning authorities
  • Ecologists
  • Solicitors
  • Consultants (architects, designers, planning consultants and industry bodies)

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Please note that all speakers and the agenda are subject to change without notice.