Site plan of Keys Business park
Image 1: Keys Business Park Site Plan © The Land Trust;
Biodiversity Offsetting
Biodiversity Offsetting


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:

  • Devon
  • Doncaster
  • Essex
  • Greater Norwich
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull

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.

Questions to Consider

The Land is suitable for
Is your site in one of the existing pilot areas?

The Land is suitable for
Do you have a long term management plan?

Pros and Cons

The Land is suitable for
Achieves improvements to your site without paying for them.

The Land is suitable for
Currently only available to sites in the pilot areas.
The Land is suitable for
Requires up front resource such as developing a management plan and registering the site with no guaranteed return.