Delivery of biodiversity net gain schemes
With biodiversity net gain soon to be become a legal requirement for developments in England, we have proactively established a service line that facilitates the delivery of biodiversity net gain schemes. One such scheme is being delivered at Lower Valley Farm, South Cambridgeshire, where we have partnered with Cambridgeshire County Council to oversee the phased habitat creation across the farm.
By creating a range of different habitats at scale and structuring the scheme in a way that enables biodiversity units to be purchased ‘off-the-shelf’, we expect to capitalise on already growing demand and provide strong financial returns for the Council.
We have worked with the Council to develop a novel set of legal agreements which mitigate delivery risks, while avoiding the costs typically associated with biodiversity unit brokerage.
We are currently seeking to develop further partnerships across the Arc to deliver biodiversity net gain schemes at a landscape scale, allowing us to:
- Enhance ecological connectivity by creating strategic links between priority habitats;
- Expand existing designated sites by forming habitat buffers; and
- Improve ecosystem services through the adoption of environmentally sensitive land management practices over the long-term.
This ensures cost-effective delivery of biodiversity net gain that not only benefits nature but also provides social benefits, such as community access to nature and improved amenity value, as well as contributing to improved air and water quality and carbon sequestration.
We have developed some unique expertise in this sector, combining an understanding of environmental objectives with an understanding of relevant contractual and financial structures. We currently advise the two Wildlife Trusts operating in the Arc (BCNWT and BBOWT), as well as numerous institutional investors and developers, on the delivery of biodiversity net gain and the monetisation of environmental outcomes from land.
We firmly believe that the market for the provision of biodiversity credits will coalesce around dedicated conservation initiatives which are delivering habitat enhancements cost-effectively, at scale, and in strategically important locations. The work we are doing in the area also evidences that very attractive financial returns can be derived from well-planned environmental initiatives.