Environmental Net Gain: Measurement, Delivery and Application - conference summary October 2018

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Environmental Net Gain (ENG) was proposed in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan as a development to the increasingly established Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). The Plan committed to embed ENG for development, including housing and infrastructure as a critical enabler of its headline pledge to deliver what Prime Minister May described as its “simple” goals: “cleaner air and water; plants and animals which are thriving; and a cleaner, greener country for us all.” The Plan re-commits Government to its 2017 Manifesto pledge to “become the first generation to leave that environment in a better state than we found it”.

So how realistic is this? With BNG still in its infancy, what are the challenges and opportunities in widening net gain principles to potentially the whole environment? This has to be a welcome aspiration, but it will be complex and if done badly could open the door to less sustainable development, not more. It is set against a background of reports of desperate levels of global habitat loss and species extinction, and a lack of international commitment to responsible conservation rather than extreme exploitation.


This document summarises presentations and discussion at the CIWEM Environmental Net Gain: Measurement, Delivery and Application conference held on 30th October 2018. It also sets out the collective priorities expressed by delegates for future mainstreaming and development of BNG and wider ENG.


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