‘Environmental Net Gain’ (ENG) is a term that covers multiple environmental benefits. Whilst ENG does not yet have a single agreed definition, in Defra’s public consultation on Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) it was defined as: “In short, this means improving all aspects of environmental quality through a scheme or project. Achieving environmental net gain means achieving biodiversity net gain first, and going further to achieve increases in the capacity of affected natural capital to deliver ecosystem services and make a scheme’s wider impacts on natural capital positive.”
In 2020, the Environmental Industry Commission’s Natural Capital Taskforce stated that: “Environmental net gain is an approach for improving the condition of, and ecosystems services that flow from, our natural assets in the context of development.”
This briefing paper aims to provide a practical definition of the term and provide the legislative, policy and strategic context within which ENG can be delivered. It also aims to highlight how CIEEM members can apply these concepts, during development (which includes retrofitting and redevelopment), in land management and when formulating strategies. By taking a holistic approach, significant gains in environmental benefits can be achieved.