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Addressing practical challenges for biodiversity offsetting in the UK. Summary report for policy makers on the first 'Towards no net loss, and beyond' workshop, 22 June 2010

Howard, B.M.; Margerison, C.. 2010 Addressing practical challenges for biodiversity offsetting in the UK. Summary report for policy makers on the first 'Towards no net loss, and beyond' workshop, 22 June 2010. Natural Capital Initiative Partners, 24pp. (CEH Project No: C04296)

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Abstract/Summary

This report summarises the views and ideas expressed during a workshop to identify practical challenges for the further implementation of biodiversity offsetting in the UK, and to work out how these may be resolved. The event involved 41 participants from a wide range of organisations. It was organised by the Natural Capital Initiative; an independent forum for discussion of policy and practice aligned with the ecosystem approach. ‘Biodiversity offsetting’ means the delivery of measurable conservation outcomes to compensate for the residual ecological impacts of development. It applies where all means of avoiding impacts, and reducing their severity, have been used. Biodiversity offsets can potentially be applied for development in terrestrial, freshwater, coastal or marine environments. They can take the form of ‘case by case’ (site-specific) offsets and habitat or species banking, or can proceed via in lieu fees. Increased biodiversity offsetting could be a contributor to the protection and enhancement of UK biodiversity, especially at sites not already protected by law for their biodiversity value. Key messages were derived from the workshop: 1. In developing any new policy framework for effective biodiversity offsetting, carefully engage interest groups, the public and decision-makers. 2. Current methodologies, tools and evidence are sufficient to begin encouraging increased use of biodiversity offsetting. It is, however, still necessary to evaluate current scientific knowledge needs to improve the effectiveness of additional measures to increase the use of biodiversity offsetting. 3. Much can be learned from existing experience of both biodiversity offsetting and ecological restoration in the UK and internationally, alongside new pilot studies. 4. Reinforcing and integrating current public policy to manage the environmental impacts of development could enable a significant increase in biodiversity offsetting. 5. In designing biodiversity offsetting schemes, understand the capacity and role of local authorities to assist with their implementation. 6. In designing biodiversity offsetting schemes, much can be learned from existing voluntary and compulsory initiatives to protect the environment. 7. In designing biodiversity offsetting schemes, manage risks and avoid unintended consequences. 8. The potential for two or more ‘tiers’ of biodiversity offset should be investigated. 9. Measures to increase biodiversity offsetting are reliant on good quality biodiversity information. Improvements in information provision could have the added benefit of more coordinated monitoring of habitat quality and spending on conservation measures. 10. The spatial distribution and longevity of the costs and benefits of biodiversity offset schemes will require close cooperation between all interest groups, including local authorities. 11. Consider offsetting for ecosystem services in addition to biodiversity. Each of the key messages is described in more detail on Pages 4 to 9, including practical suggestions for ways forward. They are not listed in any order of priority.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment > BD - 3.4 - Provide science-based advice ...
CEH Sections: Hails
Funders/Sponsors: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Additional Keywords: biodiversity, offsetting
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
General > Science Policy
Related URLs:
Date made live: 24 Jun 2014 08:40 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/500797

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