Biodiversity offsetting

Biodiversity offsetting is a mechanism that allows developers to mitigate and compensate for residual impacts of their activities on the natural environment.

Since June 2011, local authorities have been able to pilot biodiversity offsetting on a voluntary basis, with developers offered the option of delivering their biodiversity planning policy requirements through offsetting.

How does biodiversity offsetting work?

Biodiversity offsetting provides a framework for funding a network of environmental/conservation sites (the offset sites) that would be owned and managed by the public, private or third sectors. It means development in suitable areas can be maximised, delivering social and economic improvements in the area.

Biodiversity offsetting contributes to local and national biodiversity targets and the system of ‘Conservation Credits’ can generate much-needed funding to help create new habitats and manage or enhance existing sites.

Environmental impacts can be mitigated off-site, and the sites joined up to create high-value landscapes and deliver truly sustainable development – development that brings environmental and economic recovery.

How we can help local authorities with biodiversity offsetting

Through our partnership with The Environment Bank Ltd, we can provide a complete range of services, from strategic advice to practical calculations and site-level delivery.

These services include:

  • Providing strategic advice to local authorities on adopting biodiversity offsetting and integrating with local planning and biodiversity policy
  • Liaising with council planning departments and property teams, as well as with landowners/managers and specialist NGOs such as Wildlife Trusts
  • Identifying key biodiversity issues such as site context and local policy
  • Delivering site-customised biodiversity offsetting metrics based on biodiversity assessments and the quantification of required credits
  • Providing access to The Environment Bank’s registry of potential receptor sites and information on offsetting from a professional network
  • Providing site-customised advice – from pre-planning through development to long-term site management
  • Supervising and monitoring biodiversity offsetting projects
  • Planning viability appraisals
  • Integrating ecological procedures into the project to avoid unforeseen costs and delays
  • Delivering legal documentation for biodiversity offsetting for the receptor site including:
    • Conservation bank agreement
    • Financial assurances
    • Management plans
    • Local land covenants according to best practice

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