Biodiversity offsetting is a way of providing biodiversity benefits in compensation for losses. The impacts of a development in one place are measured and compensated for elsewhere. Biodiversity offsetting identifies the wildlife value of the land that is going to be impacted by development and ensures another area with the same or better environmental value is created.
The Government’s Natural Environment White Paper identified that biodiversity offsetting would be piloted over two years starting in April 2012. Defra is piloting biodiversity offsetting in:
National metrics are used to measure the environmental value of the land to be developed and the total amount of environmental value lost (conservation credits lost). The equivalent environmental value must then be created elsewhere. Any landowners can put forward their sites to receive the environmental improvements (offset site). Landowners will submit their plans for the long term management of their site. This will be converted into conservation credits.
The conservation credits lost by a development are then matched to an equivalent amount of conservation credits created elsewhere. The developer then pays to fund the long-term conservation management of the offset site in order to realise the conservation credits.
Biodiversity offsetting is not compulsory for developers. However adopting offsetting may help developers in their negotiations with the planning authority.
A park or open space can benefit from biodiversity offsetting by registering their site to be an offset site. Currently this is only possible for sites based in one of the six pilot areas.
Is your site in one of the existing pilot areas?
Do you have a long term management plan?
Achieves improvements to your site without paying for them.
The Environment Bank - http://environmentbank.com/biodiversityoffsetting.html
Defra’s information on the pilots - http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/biodiversity/uk/offsetting/pilots/