The leading trade body cautioned against placing burdensome regulations on businesses already struggling to get their post-Covid recoveries off the ground, urging the Government to strike a balance between protecting the environment and creating too much bureaucratic red tape.

Representing a sector that has already set its own carbon net zero targets, UKHospitality was responding to a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation on Biodiversity Net Gain Regulations and Implementation.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government must consider the scale of operations and resources required for businesses to comply with the proposed regulations, and should therefore provide significant support to businesses where necessary. This could include financial help, particularly for smaller businesses set to incur significant implementation costs.

“The planning processes are already too cumbersome, stifling investment. It should be simplified, with streamlined requirements placed on businesses in providing biodiversity core information, to minimise costly and time-consuming administrative burdens.”

UKHospitality also wants to see extensions to hospitality venues exempted from the regulations, as it believes such developments would have ‘minimal impacts on the environment’.

DEFRA says the consultation ‘sets out our proposals and asks questions about how biodiversity net gain will be applied to Town and Country Planning Act development, and, at a higher level, Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects’, with responses helping to ‘shape developing legislation, processes and guidance’.

Kate Nicholls added: “Hospitality is supportive of the Government’s environmental goals and its ambition to become carbon net zero by 2050. Indeed, the sector remains committed to prioritising sustainable practices, and has set its own targets ahead of this date.

“The industry is fully aware that is has an important role to play in promoting sustainability and biodiversity, and many hospitality businesses are progressing their efforts to reduce emissions and meet the Government’s environmental goals. Biodiversity is important for businesses, and many already prioritise protecting the natural environment surrounding their venues and local spaces.”

UKHospitality’s consultation response also stated that it will ‘continue pursuing opportunities to help businesses improve biodiversity in order to meet sector environmental targets.’

The consultation closes tomorrow (Tuesday 5 April).