Guidance: Creating a habitat management and monitoring plan for BNG

Natural England

February 12
12:32 2024

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is mandatory from 12 February 2024.

A legal agreement is an obligation to enhance and maintain a habitat. It must set out:

  • how you will maintain the habitat
  • who is responsible for creating or enhancing the habitats
  • who is responsible for maintenance, management and monitoring

Your legal agreement for off-site or on-site gains must last for at least 30 years.

You can use a HMMP to provide more information. It does not replace the legal agreement.You can include your HMMP within your legal agreement or draft it as a separate document.

You should work with an ecologist or competent professional to write your HMMP.

Agreeing your HMMP

For off-site gains

If youre delivering off-site gains, your HMMP should be agreed with one of the following:

  • the local planning authority (LPA) if youre securing gains through a planning obligation (section 106 agreement)
  • the responsible body if youre securing gains with a conservation covenant

Significant on-site enhancements

You need to describe how youll maintain and monitor the habitat enhancement. You should submit a HMMP with the biodiversity gain plan.

You should also submit a draft HMMP with your planning application.

Find out more information in the planning practice guidance.

What to include in an HMMP

You should work with an ecologist or competent professional to write your HMMP. They will help you to understand what to include. For example:

  • how you plan to manage the off-site gains or significant on-site enhancements, taking into account any legal restrictions and requirements
  • when and how youll monitor habitats (this will vary for different types of habitat)
  • when and how youll report monitoring results
  • when and how youll review management proposals
  • how youll change the way you manage the habitat, so that you achieve the habitats or wider outcome

Contact the LPA or responsible body?to find out if you need to include other information in the HMMP.

Using the HMMP template

Theres a set of HMMP tools including a template, checklist and companion guide, to help you write your HMMP.

The HMMP template is a guide with a structure to help you show details of your project. You do not need to fill in every section as not all of it will be relevant to you.

The template can be used for projects of all sizes. Its suitable for significant on-site enhancements and for off-site gains.

The templates companion document lists habitat condition and assessment criteria.

Designing your own HMMP

If you design your own HMMP, you can refer to the checklist in the HMMP tools as a reminder for what you should include.

Working with an ecologist

If youre using the HMMP template, the ecologist working with you should write a statement of competence in the relevant section. If your site has a watercourse element they should have the appropriate habitat specialisms.

Long term management

If the land changes hands, you may need to update the HMMP.

Give feedback on this guidance by completing a short survey.

Published 29 November 2023
Last updated 12 February 2024 +show all updates
  1. Updated box at top of page to state that biodiversity net gain (BNG) is mandatory from 12 February 2024 and removed the 'draft guidance' label. Added watercourse information, as well as changes to legal agreement and significant on-site enhancements.

  2. First published.

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