"Our data shows that a significant number of developers will need to make themselves familiar with the new regulation, and quickly"
- Terry Woodley - Shawbrook
BNG regulations have been introduced to aid the recovery of nature while developing land, by ensuring that wildlife habitats are left in a better state than they were before the environment was developed. This will apply to developments in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, unless exempt, and will come into force for small sites from April 2024.
Just 22% of developers believe that the new BNG regulations won’t have an impact on their business, highlighting the importance of awareness ahead of the implementation.
With sustainability remaining a key issue and high on the agenda for developers, those who are aware of the regulations are already spending money to factor in BNG compliance as part of their development costs. On average, 41% of developers’ total costs is being spent on ensuring compliance.
In order to make sure properties are sustainable, investing in high-quality insulation is the most common action taken by developers, with 28% having done so. 26% have invested in greener building materials, and 26% have also invested in renewable energy systems such as solar panels; matched by 26% who have also invested in carbon offsetting their building work.
Other changes to ensure sustainability include:
25% - working with local councils to ensure good public transport links
25% - improving waste disposal of building materials
24% - reusing building materials
23% - Including green areas and cycle paths as part of the development
23% - adding electric car charging points
21% - creating spaces/habitats for local wildlife
21% - reducing traffic to building sites
18% - re-wilding areas within the development site
Terry Woodley, MD of Development Finance at Shawbrook, added: “It’s positive that steps are being taken to improve biodiversity on development projects. Time will tell if the initiative is effective, and the hope will be that it does not negatively impact planning approval processes.
“Our data shows that a significant number of developers will need to make themselves familiar with the new regulation, and quickly. Given the high proportion of costs already being allocated by developers to comply, developers who are unaware risk a substantial impact on their businesses once the regulation is enforced.
Terry adds: “Now may be a good time for some to work with specialist finance providers to explore how they can make sustainable changes whilst delivering their projects, using tailored funding packages to enable progress whilst also complying with new regulations.
"Having a flexible funding partner that understands these challenges will be a key enabler of increased sustainability efforts and the adaptation required by developers to future-proof their businesses.”