Biodiversity and the natural environment can deliver multiple benefits to local communities, including promoting health and wellbeing, contributing to the local economy, and responding to the climate emergency.
Biodiversity net gain, in combination with future Green Infrastructure Standards, has the potential to ensure that an increasing proportion of new homes have access to natural spaces and wildlife within walking distance. This brings health and wellbeing benefits, particularly to urban and suburban areas where high-quality and accessible green infrastructure can be scarce, contributing to poor mental and physical health; access to public green space is an important factor in connecting people with nature and tackling obesity. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that living in greener environments is associated with reduced mortality.
A broader environmental net gain approach, which helps to deliver cleaner air and water, increased flood resilience and greater energy efficiency could have the potential, in time, to transform our environment and support healthier lives.