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BNG CASE STUDY

Biodiversity Units from Environment Bank secured for new Aldi store in Hampshire

Developer: Aldi Stores Limited
Sector: Commercial – Retail
Region: London & South East

LPA: New Forest District Council
NCA: Hampshire Lowlands

Habitat Bank: Chippenham, Wiltshire

Biodiversity Unit: Grassland

About the development project

Aldi is building a modern new store in Hampshire. The new store will provide at least 40 new jobs, all actively recruited from the surrounding area, and offer local people easier access to affordable groceries, thereby reducing their travelling time.

After reducing biodiversity impacts at the development site as far as possible, and mitigating any habitat loss on-site wherever it was achievable, the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket worked with Environment Bank to find an off-site habitat bank to further meet its Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements.

Working alongside Environment Bank, a renowned BNG provider with a track record for restoring ecosystems, forms part of Aldi’s commitment to make its operations as sustainable as possible.

All new Aldi stores feature greener components such as solar panels, CO2 refrigerants, LED lighting, heat recovery systems, and chiller doors – using architects, planners, and engineers to implement innovations that can reduce the environmental impact of the stores.

Simplified Biodiversity Unit delivery process

Biodiversity Unit delivery isn’t always easy, with varying regional approaches to governance, and complex ecological considerations.

In collaboration with ecological consultants and planning consultants, Environment Bank’s in-house legal, ecology, and planning teams were able to satisfy the project’s off-site requirement for grassland Biodiversity Units. We did so while also supporting Aldi’s engagement with the planning authority and accelerating their granting of planning permission.

From receiving the site’s biodiversity metric to completion, the entire process only took a few weeks. Our planning, legal, and ecological support ensured that the appropriate number of Units would be provided and that the planning condition would be satisfied.

After completion, Aldi was given a Biodiversity Unit purchase certificate to submit to the local planning authority (LPA) alongside habitat management and monitoring plans. All liability for habitat maintenance will sit with Environment Bank for the full 30-year BNG term.

Chippenham Habitat Bank visualisation

Supporting effective, large-scale recovery

The Biodiversity Units for this development project were secured from one of our largest and most diverse Habitat Banks sat within the new store’s adjacent LPA.

Landscape-scale sites dedicated to nature restoration, like the Chippenham Habitat Bank, are essential for combating the biodiversity crisis – creating vast ecological networks rather than small and isolated pockets of biodiversity that have far less impact.

The scope of the Habitat Bank, located near to nine Local Wildlife Sites, will help to connect valuable landscapes in the south of England. This provides many meaningful opportunities for the region’s ecosystems to recover and thrive.

Over the next three decades, we’ll be transforming the site’s existing arable fields along the Cade Burna River corridor into new habitats. This includes lowland meadows, species-rich hedgerows, ponds, rivers, ditches, woodland, and scrubland.

Ongoing national supply partnership agreement

To help Aldi satisfy its BNG requirements for upcoming projects across England, Environment Bank has signed a national supply partnership agreement with the supermarket chain to support their delivery of BNG across their pipeline stores.

By securing this streamlined partnership, Aldi’s upcoming development projects for new stores and distribution centres across England can now progress with the assurance that all BNG requirements will be met.

We’re committed to being a responsible, sustainable retailer, and we’re pleased to be working with Environment Bank to help further protect biodiversity in the areas local to new stores, while also offering residents greater access to affordable, high-quality products.

George Brown, National Real Estate Director, Aldi UK

At a time when developers are facing significant viability challenges, getting planning policy and legal agreements right is a big part of delivering BNG efficiently and cost-effectively. We are delighted to be working with Aldi to help them speed up their planning process nationally, save costs, and deliver the best outcomes for nature. 

Alexa Culver
General Counsel
Environment Bank

Off-site biodiversity net gain solutions are particularly useful for commercial development projects, such as Aldi’s, where fully delivering BNG at the development site itself isn’t possible. A huge thanks to Aldi and consultants at Planning Potential and Tyler Grange for working with Environment Bank on this project. We very much look forward to our continued partnership.

Lloyd Collins
Account Director – Planning & Delivery
Environment Bank

Find out the cost and availability of Biodiversity Units for your development