Biodiversity net gain is an approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before. With biodiversity net gain soon becoming a mandatory element of the English planning system in the new Environment Bill, developers will need to prepare to adapt future designs to increase natural space on their development projects. The benefits of improved biodiversity in placemaking also extend beyond compliance.  

The IPBES Global Assessment 2019 revealed that land use change has had the largest relative impact on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. It stated that:  

“management decisions that take evolutionary changes into account will be noticeably more effective”. 

Research by the University of Manchester suggests that:  

increasing tree cover across an urban area by 10% can reduce surface water runoff by almost 6%  and reduce surface and air temperatures by 12°C and 4°C respectively. 

Through applying biodiversity net gain it is hoped that habitats and ecosystem services lost through development can be restored. 

This course offers the opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field on how biodiversity net gain can be created in the design and construction stages of new developments, and how to avoid the common pitfalls and utilise best practice. It will provide an overview of the current policy landscape and the metrics surrounding biodiversity net gain. Participants will have the opportunity to work through an implementation scenario, learning insights from the experts and networking with peers. We will also encourage drafting a work plan to help focus what actions participants will take once back in their role and recommend a follow up 2-3 months after the course to see how the actions are developing.  

Key objectives: 

  • Understand the current UK policy requirements for achieving a biodiversity net gain 
  • Learn how to present the business case and develop corporate strategies on biodiversity net gain 
  • Explore best practice case studies and gain key insights and lessons learned from the experts 
  • Understand how to implement a biodiversity net gain in design and construction through a scenario exercise 


  • Tom Butterworth, Technical Director for Biodiversity, WSP
  • Laura Homfray, Consultant Biodiversity and Natural Capital, WSP 
  • Nick White, Principal Advisor, Natural England 

Who should attend: 

The course is ideal for sustainable built environment professionals involved in the design and delivery of buildings, particularly those who have a good understanding of the fundamentals around biodiversity net gain and would like to learn how to apply the Defra Biodiversity Net Gain process to a project. Although the course is open to anyone it will be particularly interesting to sustainability professionals, ecologists, architects and project managers. 

CPD: 3 hours 

Gold leaf free places are available for this course, please contact to apply. 


Section 2.2 ‘in a nutshell’ of the Best Practice Guidelines from page 13  

Video: An Introduction to Biodiversity Net Gain  

You might also like to read our Course Mail series on Nature and Biodiversity in the Built Environment ahead of this course – four bitesized learning shots to your inbox every week.

Event details

Open to

All are welcome.

Book now

Get involved

Learn more and sign up to join here.