New Construction / UK / 2018 / 08 Land Use and Ecology /

LE 04 - Enhancement of ecological value

Information correct as of 24thMay 2024. Please see for the latest compliance information.

Change in ecological value – Route 2 – credit allocation - KBCN1139

10/08/2018 - The correct credit allocation for Route 2 can be found in Version 1.2 onwards of the technical manual.
The information below is incorrect and not valid for use.
Upon completing the calculation of change in ecological value following the Route 2 methodology detailed in GN36, a percentage score will be achieved. Providing all other necessary criteria are met, the following credits can be awarded for the relevant issues:
Project Status Percentage Score Credits Awarded Issue
Minimising Loss 75-94% 1 LE03
No Net Loss 95-104% 2 LE03
Net Gain 105-109% 1 LE04
Significant Net Gain 110% or more 3 LE04
A total of 5 credits is available for achieving significant net gain, with up to 2 credits available in LE 03 and up to 3 credits available in LE 04. This information will be added to the manual in the next reissue.

Classifying lines of trees not part of a continuous hedge - KBCN1333

Lines of trees (where not part of a continuous hedge) should be considered as an area-based habitat, rather than a linear habitat. Please see the ‘Individual Trees and Lines of Trees’ section in Guidance Note 36 for details on calculating this. Appendix A of GN36 version 0.0 implies the opposite, however this is an error and will be corrected in future updates.

DEFRA Small Sites Metric (SSM) - KBCN1614

The Small Sites Metric (SSM), the simplified version of the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric 4.0, cannot be used as a means of assessing Biodiversity Net Gain in BREEAM. We will consider accounting for the SSM in future versions of all BREEAM Schemes. The calculation methodology in GN36 is based on the full version of the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric. 

Ecological enhancement implementation time-frames - KBCN1196

At the Post Construction Assessment stage of large or phased developments, for example, some ecological enhancements may not have been completed. This may include features which are to be added at a later date in the appropriate planting season. In such cases, it is acceptable to provide evidence from the client or principal contractor confirming that the enhancements will be completed within an appropriate period, advised by the SQE.

Ecology dependency diagrams - KBCN1456

These dependency diagrams show how ecology prerequisites and credits interact across issues in the ecology category. UK New Construction UK NC ecology dependencies rev 0.0 Applies to: Home Quality Mark HQM V6 ecology dependencies rev 0.0 Applies to:
30-Aug-2023 - HQM ecology dependency diagram added. Title and scheme applicability updated.

Green roofs – habitat distinctiveness - KBCN1332

In GN36 Appendix C - Habitat Type Classification and Reference Index the distinctiveness types which have been set for Extensive and Intensive green roofs in part relate to ‘likely’ planting taking into consideration possible options for these roofs. Taking into consideration evolving and changing practices around green roofs (and generally relating to habitat classification) notes A&B in GN36 Appendix C provide the ecologist with the flexibility to use their professional judgement to use alternative information / classification as long as this is justified. As such, whilst the distinctiveness levels set in Appendix C should be used in normal circumstances, where the ecologist can provide evidence/justification for doing so, they can specify the distinctiveness of the green roof based specifically on the planting that has implemented on that project.

Guidance Note 35 withdrawn - KBCN1355

Guidance Note 35 has been withdrawn following the publication of v3.0 of the BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 Technical manual.  This manual reissue includes all of the information contained in this guidance note in a revised form and supersedes the GN content.  As such the GN should not be used for assessment purposes and it has been archived.  A copy can be downloaded if required for archive purposes only. Please see KBCN1221 regarding the original Guidance Note 35.

Guidance Note 40 to be updated - KBCN1356

Following the publication of v3.0 of the BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 Technical manual, the wording in Guidance Note 40 differs to some degree from that in the manual.  However, the underlying content is the same and the form may still be used to provide evidence for assessments.  Alternatively, it may be used to guide the preparation of evidence in a different format if preferred.  This GN will be updated to fully correspond to the wording in the reissued manual. Please see KBCN1190 regarding the purpose and scope of Guidance Note 40.

Habitat classification – Assigning a different classification to that specified in GN36 - KBCN1515

Where the SQE provides written confirmation and robust justification that a particular feature should be assigned to a different habitat classification, the assessor can consider this as valid for their assessment.

Measuring ecological change – Using Defra Metric 3.0, 3.1, 4.0 and the Statutory Biodiversity Metric - KBCN1476

Defra Metric 3.0, 3.1 and 4.0 have been mapped to the BREEAM Change in Ecological Value Calculator and can be used in assessments for BREEAM UK New Construction 2018, BREEAM Infrastructure Version 6 (formerly CEEQUAL Version 6), and Home Quality Mark ONE. Please see the table below for the applicable benchmarks where Defra Metric 3.0, 3.1 or 4.0 is used. The benchmarks from the Defra Metric are taken from the lowest score from the three metrics (Habitat, Hedgerow, River). If a metric is not present, e.g. there is no river on the site, the score of 0 for that metric must be ignored when taking the lowest score.
Metric result Credits awarded
BREEAM (GN36) / Defra Metric 2.0 Defra Metric (3.0, 3.1, 4.0) and the Statutory Biodiversity Metric BREEAM UK NC 2018 HQM ONE BREEAM Infrastructure V6
Less than 75% Less than -25% 0 0 0
Between 75% and 94% Between -24% and -6% 1 2 10
Between 95% and 104% Between -5% and 4% 2 4 20
Between 105% and 109% Between 5% and 9% 3 6 30
110% and above 10% and above 3 + 1 exemplary level credit 8 40
The above approach can be used to determine the percentage score that describes ecological change in Guidance Note 36 (Table 9: Reward Scale), if the following is also met: Alternatively, the BREEAM Change in Ecological Value calculator tool will continue to be accepted until stated otherwise.
03 Mar 2022 - Updated to clarify how Defra Metric 3.0 can be applied to current schemes
27 May 2022 - Updated to Defra Metric 3.1
21 Sep 2022 - Clarification on the figure to use from Defra Metric 3.0 or 3.1
14 Oct 2022 - Updated following rebrand of CEEQUAL to BREEAM Infrastructure
16 Feb 2023 - Added rules and clarification from KBCN1407.
01 Jun 2023 - Addition of DEFRA Metric 4.0

Measuring ecological change with Defra Metric 2.0 ~ superseded ~ - KBCN1407

For DEFRA Metric 3.0 and 3.1, please see KBCN1476 - Measuring ecological change – Using Defra Metric 3.0 and 3.1 The Defra Metric tool 2.0 can be used to determine the percentage score that describes ecological change in Guidance Note 36 (Table 9: Reward Scale), if the following is also met: Alternatively, the BREEAM Change in Ecological Value calculator tool will continue to be accepted until stated otherwise. This is subject to change as part of transitioning to Defra Metric 2.1, once this has been finalised and released. The latest timescales and information on this are available from Natural England: Edited 21/09/22:  The BREEAM Ecological Change tool determines credits using the lowest 'Post development percentage of Pre development' score for the Area based and Linear habitats. If the Defra Metric tool 2.0 has been used, the 'Total net % change' results should be used to calculate this, which is the lowest score of the three metrics. For example, if the Defra Metric 2.0 tool suggests that there is a net change of -65%, then the 'Post development percentage of Pre development' would be 35% for the purposes of BREEAM. Likewise, if the net change is +8%, then the percentage would be 108%.
21 09 2022 Paragraph added to clarify

Off-site ecological enhancement - KBCN1495

In line with LE 04 Criterion 4, in certain circumstances, BREEAM may recognise ecological enhancements which are not within the boundary of the site being assessed. Off-site enhancement may be accepted where:
  1. Assessment Route 2 is followed
  2. On-site enhancement is not possible, or the Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) confirms that the proposed ecological enhancements are appropriate and more effective than can be done solely within the red line boundary.
  3. The enhancement is made within the “Zone of Influence” [See LE 02 - Definitions]
  4. There are arrangements in place for the on-going maintenance of the enhanced land. This could be demonstrated by compliance with LE 05
Full justification and robust evidence must be submitted when relying on this approach.

Recognised local ecological expertise - KBCN1193

Organisations/individuals that have the expertise to provide specialist input or guidance to inform the adoption of locally relevant (within the zone of influence) ecological measures that enhance the ecological value of the site.  This may include bodies such as: a. Local Government and other statutory relevant organisations. b. Local community groups, organisations, or charities, such as the Wildlife Trusts. c. Local, regional, or national fauna focused groups such as Bug life, RSPB, Bat Conservation Trust etc.
This definition will be added to the relevant technical manuals in their next re-issue.

Relating green roofs to multiple assessments in the same building - KBCN1195

A green roof on top of such buildings can be used to award credits for each assessment for which the Land use and ecology Issues apply. The benefit can be applied to to all assessments undertaken for the building provided all are completed within the appropriate time-frame of a valid ecological survey.

Reward Scale for UKNC LE04 - KBCN1376

Guidance Note 36 outlines a rewards scale (table 9) for the credits awarded in LE04, Ecological Change and Enhancement. Table 9 breaks down the credits into 4 sections:
  1. Minimising loss
  2. No net loss
  3. Net Gain
  4. Significant net gain
For UKNC 2018, sections 1-3 correspond to the 3 credits awarded when a project follows the comprehensive route. Exemplary level credits are given if section 4 is achieved.    

Site wide approach to ecological enhancements - KBCN1194

A site-wide approach to ecological enhancements can be used on sites where multiple buildings share areas of soft landscaping. The enhancement benefits are applied to the individual building assessments within the site. The benefit can be applied on a site-wide basis provided all developments are completed within the appropriate timeframe of a valid ecological survey.

Targeting ecology issues using a mixture of routes - KBCN1306

Where Route 1 is pursued initially and it is subsequently decided that Route 2 should be followed, the Suitably Qualified Ecologist appointed should review all evidence available for the issues already assessed to confirm the actions taken were appropriate. Note: Route 1 and Route 2 are referred to as the 'Foundation' and 'Comprehensive' routes in HQM ONE, respectively.  

Verification of an ecology report / information - KBCN1192

If the appointed ecologist does not meet the definition of a ‘suitably qualified ecologist’ (SQE) the report / information submitted to support the assessment must be verified by an individual who does. 1. The individual verifying the report must provide written confirmation that they comply with the definition of a ‘suitably qualified ecologist’. 2. The verifier must provide signed confirmation that they have checked and approved the report. This must clearly reference the report and can be in the form of a signed letter or their printed name and signature on a completed pro-forma. In doing so, they are deemed to confirm that the report: a. represents sound industry practice b. is correctly, truthful, and objective c. is appropriate given the local site conditions and scope of works proposed d. avoids invalid, biased, or exaggerated statements Such confirmation from the verifier must be provided in addition to all other information required by the relevant technical manual and referenced as part of the evidence submitted to demonstrate compliance. It can take a number of years for an ecologist to meet the SQE definition. Verification of information by an existing SQE supports the practical application of the assessment criteria and is in line with industry practice.
13/08/2019 Updated to clarify, in practical terms, what evidence of verification will be considered acceptable.
Information correct as of 24thMay 2024. Please see for the latest compliance information.