What is offsetting? A new way being considered by Defra for developers to contribute to habitat creation based on a transparent framework that assesses the damage they cause.  Also intends to streamline the current process to significantly benefit developers who will be better able to plan, and budget for mitigation at the outset.

Think ‘pay for damage’ rather than ‘nature for sale’.

On 27 September I went to Defra HQ in London and heard the clear thinking Will Armitage, Head of Major Infrastructure and Environment at Defra, take us through the ‘Biodiversity Offsetting in England’ Green Paper – which is a consultation document – open to everyone to comment on.

You can go online and contribute until 7 Nov –  I suggest you read it all through first, as the nitty gritty detail in the final sections might answer/alter some of your initial questions or comments. It’s at www.gov.uk/defra .

A wide range of options exists but I think, if it is brave enough, what comes out could be the most fantastic tool to gain benefit for the environment in decades.  But if it is too cautious we may never notice it happened.

I was lucky enough to sit next to Guy Dukes, involved in the Ecosystem Markets Task Force research into Biodiversity Offsetting.  This expensive bit of research had concluded that Biodiversity Offsetting must be compulsory to be effective, although this is still open for debate in the green paper.  That was the main message I took home.

 

Posted by Haidee