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Frequently asked questions

We’re Here to Help

How should I access the tool?

The tool can be accessed by following this link and should be viewed on desktop only. The BNG Screening Tool cannot be accessed on mobile devices. 

How does the tool work?

  • The user can explore the interactive map to discover what habitats and designated sites are located around the area of interest.

  • The user inputs their development sites into the tool.

  • The tool runs a detailed analysis to estimate the value to nature of each development site and the potential implications on Biodiversity Net Gain.

  • Biodiversity units per user's input sites are calculated.

  • The user report is sent to the user's email address along with separate CSVs containing data.

  • User reviews the information in the user report to better inform future decisions.

  • For further details see on the output of this tool, see here for an example output.


What data is used?

  • The tool uses national scale licensed and open source datasets.

  • Fifteen datasets were used to represent 47 area and 4 linear Biodiversity Metric habitats, two further datasets were used to represent four non-Biodiversity Metric habitats, and eleven datasets were used to represent eleven statutory and non-statutory designated sites.

  • For further details of the data used see Habitats Represented in the 'Information' tab and Acknowledgements in the footer here.


What type of sites can I analyse?

The sites must meet the following requirements:

  • Be smaller than 1000 Ha ( for sites over 1000 Ha please contact us directly).

  • Be larger than 0.5 Ha.

  • Be located in England.


My sites are over 1000 Ha, can I still use the tool?

The tool has a size requirement for each site of 0.5 – 1000 Ha. Please contact us directly if any of your sites exceed this and we can work with you.


Can I analyse multiple sites?

There are two options for site analysis using the BNG Screening Tool:

  • ​The Multiple sites option should be used if you have more than one site and your data for multiple sites can be contained in one report.

  • ​The Single sites option should be used if you have one site or you have multiple sites that require individualised output reports.


How do I input my development sites?

Three options are available to input your development sites:

  • Digitized by an easy-to-use ‘draw on map’ function

  • Shapefiles of sites can be uploaded

  • GeoJSON of sites can be uploaded

For further details see the User Guide.


What results do I get?

  • The analysis investigates the occurrence of 1) Biodiversity Metric baseline habitats: These include 47 area and 4 linear Biodiversity Metric habitats, such as reedbeds and hedgerows. 2) Non-Biodiversity Metric habitats: Peat and Ancient woodland are not specific habitats in the Biodiversity Metric, however, these are of high importance and are difficult to enhance and create so information on these is provided. 3) Designated sites: These include 11 designated sites that are assigned protection from land use change, such as nature reserves or national parks. 4) Biodiversity Units: representing each development site’s value to nature. Each development site is ranked to aid strategic site screening.

  • The user report containing all outputs is sent to the user's email address along with separate CSVs containing the data.

  • You can view and redownload all previous results from the 'Results' tab on the tool

  • For an example, output see here.


How much does using the tool cost?

We have a fantastic limited time introductory offer of £50 + £10/ha (excluding 20% VAT) on a pay-per-use service. If you, or your organisation would like to enquire about a subscription service, please contact us.

Will there be future versions of the tool?

  • The tool will be regularly updated in line with Natural England's Biodiversity Metric and updates in data. All updates will be logged and available to users.

  • Future versions of the BNG screening tool will incorporate the potential for habitat enhancement and creation expressed in terms of the Biodiversity Metric, include ecosystem services, and incorporate the strategic significance of habitats based on Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

  • The tool will continually be developed to ensure it meets the user’s needs. If you would like to include feedback on how the tool can be improved, please contact us.

Where do I go if I need further help?

  • The User Guide provides a how too guide of how to use the tool and input development sites.

  • For further assistance, please contact us.

Do you have any nature-related questions that aren't answered by this tool, e.g. which ecosystem services are affected or what opportunities are there for enhancement or creation in a site?

If so please contact us or alternatively, you can email and we will aim to develop the tool to meet your needs.

Questions left unanswered?

Get in touch for more information

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