Thursday, 26 September 2013

'Biodiversity offsetting'

News from South of the Border; the proposals for 'biodiversity offsetting' 

"Biodiversity offsets are conservation activities that are designed to give biodiversity benefits to compensate for losses - ensuring that when a development damages nature (and this damage cannot be avoided) new, bigger or better nature sites will be created. They are different from other types of ecological compensation as they need to show measurable outcomes that are sustained over time."

Views expressed on the subject include those from;

The Wildlife Trusts - who also say that they, "... are engaged in the Government’s six pilot schemes and believe that the lessons learned from these pilots will be critical in informing the design of any offsetting scheme."

The Country Land and Business Association - whose President states, "We are very glad Mr Paterson has today published this paper and we agree with his view that there is no reason why wildlife and development cannot flourish side by side" and "There are currently huge limitations on public funding for biodiversity and so the creation of environmental markets to fund this work is an excellent idea. It would be good news for the environment and for the rural economy."

And some believe that the offsetting proposals would be, '...a licence to trash nature'

Whilst others are quoted as saying;

...Tom Tew, chief executive of the Environment Bank, the company acting as the independent broker between planners and developers, told the paper: “I think FoE and others completely misunderstand how biodiversity offsetting works. It is not a licence to trash, it is the complete opposite. When you put a value on biodiversity, you are putting a financial incentive for developers not to trash it.”  Link HERE

...John Slaughter, director of policy at the Home Builders Federation, praised the way Defra was approaching the issue, after it pledged that biodiversity offsetting would not be introduced unless there was consensus that it would not add to development costs, slow down the planning system, or result in a net loss to the environment. 

Imperial College Conservation Society, ICCS, has produced this information

We live in interesting times, but one thing is certain, for any initiative to work everyone involved must be aware of all the implications and possibilities; there must be no difference in interpretation by any side.  There should be no scope for what ICCS refers to as, 'inappropriate application of the approach'.


  1. Test comment by APTSec

  2. Testing, testing

  3. Test comment by Nigel Smith

  4. Test 15:34 Julian

  5. Test comment by Maria Baxter

  6. Another test comment - Maria Baxter

  7. Sounds fairly sensible.
    John Dolan

  8. I don't think a 'whistle blower' would help John (I could not find a reference to an 'anymouse') - what we hope for is a positive culture of genuine inclusion and that needs to be created by all staff but most especially by the most senior staff and members.

  9. Another test. Interesting subject, although would prefer 'off setting' was a last resort, with development integrating habitat protection

  10. Testing (again!)

  11. This is mainly a response to test-request. But on the substance of the question: bidiversity offsetting is a useful way of prompting developers and the public to think about environmental-impact. But it also risks being no more than "gesture politics" - a way to enable developers to offer a figleaf concession which appeals to the conservationists while not significantly reducing or constraining the detrimental consequences of a development project. This is not the way to go if we want ecological as well as economic sustainability.