Biodiversity Net Gain Training Courses

CIEEM provides a range of training courses for BNG Practitioners. These are all aligned with the CIEEM Competency Framework. Below is a summary of the key BNG related courses currently on offer.

Designing for Biodiversity Net Gain

This course is for individuals wishing to advance their skills in designing biodiversity net gain for development projects. Through presentations, case studies and practical work, the course focuses on designing biodiversity net gain (BNG) for various types, sizes and locations of development projects including small-scale to large-scale, as well as rural and urban locations.

The training covers BNG during the early stages of a project through to ecological impact assessments and the design stage. It touches on how BNG can influence core project decisions such as master planning and optioneering, and the role of local planning authorities in embedding BNG within planning functions. The core element of the training is designing BNG, this includes: applying the mitigation hierarchy; habitat trading, ecological equivalency, promoting connecting, achieving additionality, and offsetting losses with gains elsewhere as the final stage of the mitigation hierarchy.

This training will be covered by two 3 hour online Zoom sessions.

This course is aimed at individuals with no previous experience in or knowledge of biodiversity unit calculation, as well as individuals with some experience who wish to develop their skills and knowledge in biodiversity unit calculations.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Understand biodiversity net gain in the context of the UK good practice principles, national strategy and planning policy.
  2. Undertake key aspects of designing biodiversity net gain including trading rules and additionality.
  3. Understand good practice for evidencing biodiversity net gain at consents and planning stage.

Biodiversity Statutory Metric Training

This course is based on the Biodiversity Statutory Metric. It provides training on undertaking metric calculations for a development and its direct impacts on habitats. It also provides training on utilising Biodiversity Metric to support designs of Biodiversity Net Gain both on and off-site. This training will be covered by three online Zoom sessions (each of three hours).

This training will be covered by three 3 hour online Zoom sessions.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Undertake a Biodiversity Statutory Metric calculation of the baseline of a development site.
  2. Undertake a Biodiversity Statutory Metric calculation of direct impacts on habitats from a development.
  3. Use Biodiversity Statutory Metric to support the design of Biodiversity Net Gain.

This training will begin again from April 2024 onwards.


Introduction to the Biodiversity Metric Watercourse Module 

This course will provide an introduction to the Biodiversity Metric Watercourse Module and how to proceed with a Watercourse Module assessment, explaining:
(i) its context as part of the wider Biodiversity Metric ;
(ii) the six individual components that make up the Watercourse Module and how they contribute towards the calculation of Watercourse Units;
(iii) what information is needed for each component in order to complete the Watercourse Module within the Biodiversity Metric spreadsheet, and where to access it;
(iv) how to approach a Watercourse Module assessment for different types of watercourse and project.

This training will be covered by two 3 hour online Zoom sessions.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Understand what the Biodiversity Metric Watercourse Module is, what it includes and does not.
  2. Identify what data and supporting information are needed to enable the Watercourse Module assessment to be completed and Watercourse Units generated using the Biodiversity Metric Calculation Tool.
  3. Find the necessary guidance, accredited training and support options for the River Condition Assessment
  4. Plan a Watercourse Module assessment from start to finish at a typical development site (using a case study examples)
  5. Plan and identify additional support options for a Watercourse Module assessment at an atypical / complex development site (using case study examples).

Using UKHab for Biodiversity Net Gain

This course will introduce environmental practitioners to the interface between Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric v4.0 and UKHab. The course focusses upon the design of baseline habitat surveys and condition assessment for BNG and discusses feasibility and design of projects that have made a commitment to biodiversity net gain. The course will be taught in 2 online sessions with plenty of time allowed for discussion.

UKHab is the emerging standard for habitat survey across the country and underpins Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric, understanding UKHab and how BNG work together will be essential for all ecologists working on development planning project.

The course is aimed at consultant and local authority ecologists with experience of habitat survey. This course will introduce environmental practitioners to the interface between Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric v4.0 and UKHab. The course makes specific reference to UK Good Practice Guidance, including CIEEM-CIRIA-IEMA Good Practice Principles for BNG, British Standard BS8683:2021 and the CIEEM BNG Report Templates.

The course focuses on the application of BNG in relation to development and land use planning in terrestrial habitats. Practical experience of UKHab surveys and the use of NE’s BNG Metric is not strictly required, but would be beneficial.

The course focusses upon the design of baseline habitat surveys for BNG and discusses feasibility and design of projects that have made a commitment to biodiversity net gain.
There is a short homework exercise introduced at the end of the first session which is discussed on Day 2.

This training will be covered by two 3 hour online Zoom sessions.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Gain knowledge of the structure of UKHab and it’s resources.
  2. Confidently identify and map UKHab using digital data and in the field.
  3. Understand the importance of the survey planning and design.
  4. Understand approaches to defining habitat condition and how this relates to habitat classification.
  5. Interpret UKHab data and how it relates to DEFRA Metric v4.0 .
  6. Understand limitations and constraints of BNG and how to report them.
  7. Understand how to prepare a UKHab and BNG Report for planning applications.
  8. Explore the use of UKHab for monitoring delivery of BNG.

QGIS for Biodiversity Net Gain

Conducting a BNG assessment will soon become mandatory for most new developments. It is a new area of work and one that ecologists, particularly consultants, are having to adopt. Conducting these assessments requires specialist technical skills, and can be carried out using the freely available, open-source mapping software, QGIS.

The event is suitable for delegates familiar with the QGIS interface who have been using the product for at least three months. Ideally they will have attended an introductory QGIS course. The course will be delivered online (via Zoom), using a range of tried and tested techniques including presentations, demonstrations, individual exercises and case studies.

The course builds on delegates QGIS skills, and equips them with the specific skills needed to carry out a BNG assessment. It covers how to integrate pre-development habitat data, that they would have collected via field survey, with proposed development data, often provided by a (landscape) architect. The course will cover working with CAD data in QGIS, which is very often needed in a BNG assessment. It will also enable delegates to confidently use NE’s BNG QGIS project, together with NE’s Import to BNG Metric Excel tool.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Set up a QGIS form for ease of data input in the office or field
  2. Integrate a range of datasets commonly used in BNG assessments
  3. Geo-reference a raster field survey map for use in QGIS.
  4. Work with CAD data in QGIS (add, symbolise, re-position, covert to other formats).
  5. Create pre and proposed development habitat datasets using advanced digitising tools
  6. Work with the NE BNG QGIS project, including exporting data to the BNG Metric using NE tools.

A Habitat Design Checklist for Biodiversity Net Gain

The course starts by introducing BNG including the Good Practice Principles, Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric and how ‘trading rules’ influence the types of habitats to create and/or enhance to achieve BNG. The main part of the course is a Habitat Design Checklist that provides a practical, step-by-step approach on key considerations for BNG-led designs of habitat creation and enhancement.

This includes baseline information (e.g. soils, reference sites) to set objectives for habitat creation and enhancement, distinguishing between (and making sure the two are complementary) EcIA purposes i.e. impact mitigation or compensation, and for achieving BNG through like-for-like or better. The checklist covers planting mixes, methods of habitat creation (e.g. natural colonisation; regeneration), species choice for planting including habitat mosaics and edge habitats, and planting patterns.

The final part of the checklist covers design drawings, an outline of habitat management and monitoring plan requirements, and the hand-over from design to construction. The on-line Introduction includes pre-recorded presentations from landscape architects, and nature-based solutions and climate change experts, with their advice on habitat designs and collaborative approaches for BNG. The in-person training includes presentations with case studies, Q&A and practical sessions for delegates to work through habitat creation designs, problem-solve issues and identify win-win opportunities.

  1. An understanding of the concept of Biodiversity Net Gain
  2. Knowledge of the information required to establish baselines for designing BNG, and to set BNG objectives for the creation and enhancement of various habitat types, and for long-term management and monitoring
  3. Knowledge of the key considerations when designing habitat creation and enhancement for BNG, and to be able to apply these to a range of developments
  4. Practical know-how of collaborative BNG design approaches especially engaging and working with landscape architects and other environmental professionals (e.g. nature based solutions, climate experts).

Good Practice for Biodiversity Net Gain: training for Local Planning Authority Ecologists

This course is primarily for Ecologists within Local Planning Authorities who are involved with the implementation of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). This course starts with the BNG Good Practice Principles and how the Principles can be applied in practice. The various roles of LPAs with regards to mandatory BNG are then explored, and how BNG can be central to Place Making especially given synergies between BNG and other local policy priorities.

The course then sets out good practice for mandatory BNG throughout the planning system, from pre-app advice to the submission of a planning application, the discharge of BNG conditions and monitoring the implementation of BNG on-site and via habitat banks. This session includes reviewing BNG documents submitted for planning applications, as well as time for discussion and Q&A.

Learning outcomes:

  • Have a working-level understanding of the BNG Good Practice Principles
  • Be able to undertake reviews of biodiversity metric calculations and Biodiversity Gain Plans
  • Be able to advise on good practice for mandatory BNG through the planning system, including interpreting national good practice guidance on BNG

QField for Biodiversity Net Gain

This event explores ways in which the standard QGIS BNG template can be used to capture habitat data in the field using QField, an open source mobile GIS mapper. The application allows for efficient electronic data capture in the field and can be used for habitat mapping as well as capturing species information. We cover the key advantages of capturing habitat and species data electronically as well as considering equipment options.

The first part of the event focusses on setting up projects in QGIS for transfer to QField, including the use of the QField Sync plugin. We demonstrate how to prepare basemaps, set up species dropdown lists, configure QField to take photographs and transfer projects to a mobile device for use in the field. We then look at QField functionality on a mobile device (android ‘phone or tablet), firstly indoors and then in the field. Field work will include capturing point, line and polygon data as well as editing data in the field. Finally we will cover the transfer of field data back into a QGIS project.

Learning outcomes:

  • List the advantages and disadvantages of capturing field data electronically
  • Adapt the QGIS BNG template for use in QField
  • List the equipment needed for electronic field capture
  • Transfer a project to QField
  • Capture points, lines and polygons in the field using QField
  • Edit attribute data and geometry in the field

How to book

If you are interested in attending any of the above courses, then have a look at our Training and Events listing for the latest occurrence of each course. Alternatively, email with your details and which course(s) you are interested in.

Bespoke courses

If you would like one of our training courses to be delivered for your organisation or team then please fill in the request form and the team will be in contact with you.