Defra Seeks Views On Marine Net Gain

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a public consultation on the principles of applying a mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) to the marine environment.

In previous consultations terrestrial biodiversity net gain, there was support for extending BNG to marine developments. In 2019, the UK government stated more work would be needed to define an approach to net gain that was appropriate to the marine environment.

New proposals set out the following nine principles for how Marine Net Gain would be implemented:

  • Principle 1: Marine net gain will measure impacts on habitats and species
  • Principle 2: Marine net gain will seek to incorporate environmental benefits underpinned by biodiversity
  • Principle 3: Marine net gain will take a ‘nature first’ approach whilst recognising wider environmental benefits
  • Principle 4: Marine net gain assessments will not include potentially positive incidental impacts whose benefits are subject to significant uncertainty
  • Principle 5: Marine net gain requirements will be proportionate and appropriate to the scale and type of development
  • Principle 6: Marine net gain will be a mandatory requirement. It will apply to all marine development, subject to any minimal thresholds and other exemptions
  • Principle 7: Marine net gain will incentivise both active interventions and appropriate pressure reduction measures
  • Principle 8: Marine net gain will incentivise the delivery of strategic interventions in addition to meaningful site-based interventions.
  • Principle 9: Marine net gain will allow for improvements to designated and non-designated features of Marine Protected Areas to qualify as net gain interventions

The consultation is open until 30 August 2022. CIEEM will be responding to this consultation and would welcome views of members in formulating out response – if interested please contact