Buy Biodiversity Units

How You Can Buy Biodiversity Units

Developers or anyone who is required to deliver Biodiversity Net Gain have to deliver at least 10% biodiversity gain on any sites and there are three main ways that they can do this. These can either be delivered onsite or use one of the mechanisms below to facilitate buying Biodiversity Units (not to be confused with Biodiversity Credits).



    This is where the biodiversity gain is done within the boundaries of the project or the land with which the project is based on. This is the first port of call for developers to look at when it comes to biodiversity units.


    This is done through the purchase of BNGs directly from landowners or intermediaries elsewhere in the local or national area. It is important to note that these BNGs need to be registered with the national registry.

    Government Backstop

    As a last resort, you will be able to buy statutory biodiversity credits as part of a national effort by the government, however worth noting that these will be made deliberately more expensive and not the preferred option.

    How to Buy Biodiversity Units

    The Process

    There are three main steps to purchasing biodiversity units and it is important that, as the developer, you are fully aware, as the core responsibility from purchasing to monitoring, very much sits with you.

    Step 1: Site Selection & Pre-application

    As part of this process you will need to follow the mitigation hierarchy and identify exactly what the impact on the biodiversity will be as part of the project, this is done through the biodiversity metric calculator. 

    Once you have identified what the value will need to be you need to ascertain as to whether you will be able to achieve this onsite and, if not, you will need to start looking at offsite alternatives. 

    Step 2: Application & Pre-Commencement

    You will then need to lay out the full strategy for the proposed biodiversity unit. This will need to include information not included in the biodiversity metric such as species, habitat management plans and how the net gains will be managed.

    You will also then need to purchase the required BNGs before commencement may begin.

    Please note, that you can secure this with a Section 106 agreement or a conservation covenant, you will not need both. A covenant is a voluntary legal document made with a private individual between a landowner and a responsible body that ensures land will be used for conservation purposes.

    Step 3: Commencement

    Land that is part of the BNGs will need to be formally registered on the Biodiversity Gain Site Registry which will be under Natural England’s authority.

    Any land that is part of BNG will need to be managed, monitored and reported on for the duration of the net gain agreement. This is the developers responsibility to ensure this happens.

    Please note, that developers can only sell the unused or unwanted units if those extra units are registered on the national registry.

    Access the Biodiversity Units for Sale on Gaia

    Gaia is the world’s leading exchange for the purchase of biodiversity units. We provide an easy platform that allows developers to browse, filter and purchase ready to buy, pre-qualified BNGs saving both time and money in the planning process.