Defra, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has issued a consultation paper (Green Paper) on biodiversity offsetting and development. This paper represents a major government commitment to the introduction of biodiversity offsetting as a means to mitigate the environmental impact of development. Government plans to have definite proposals ready by the end of this year. Comments are invited by 7 November.
How is it likely to work? There are already trials underway and Defra has developed a simple ‘metric’ to determine the ‘biodiversity units’ lost to development, and therefore how many units must be offset by positive environmental work elsewhere. The Green Paper gives a simple example of how this works for a supermarket development on a site which is part derelict, part arable land and part woodland.
A number of questions flow from this: must replacement be like for like, or can one sort of habitat be substituted for another? Hedgerows in the pilot schemes must be replaced by hedgerows for example, on a ratio of up to 3 new for one lost.
Is this a developer’s charter? Continue reading “Biodiversity offsetting, peat, conservation covenants and newts on the move”