Thaxted, Essex

5 acres
Thaxted, Essex

Delivering a 10% net gain in biodiversity during development will soon become law in England. However, a decade ago few developers were cost-effectively mitigating biodiversity loss and measuring the results. This project was one of the first to successfully secure a consent using biodiversity offsetting.

Planning had been refused for these 47 new homes on ecological grounds. The loss of species-rich, unimproved grassland and the impact on common lizard habitat was ruled to be too great. We overturned the refusal by identifying a better habitat site and negotiating favourable terms to secure the relevant interest using a novel set of legal agreements - all without the need for a broker.

This pioneering solution pooled our knowledge of ecological objectives, the land market knowledge and contractual expertise to secure the right type of land interest and a long-term management structure.

It was the first biodiversity offsetting scheme of its kind in the UK, utilising what was then a new mechanism for quantifying the loss of biodiversity on a site and the possible gain from its mitigation.

Nine years on, we’ve advised on habitat creation projects associated with development delivering over 25,000 homes and 15m sq ft of commercial space, with a GDV of £15m.

Get in touch with our team


Roland Bull

Partner, Head of Rural Investment

Roland oversees rural investment property worth £1bn for the UK’s oldest landowners. He’s also helping shape the country’s newest and most sustainable investment markets.

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