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Addressing scientific knowledge and environmental information challenges for biodiversity offsetting in the UK. Summary report for policy makers on the second 'Towards no net loss, and beyond' workshop, 29 September 2010

Howard, B.M.; Margerison, C.. 2010 Addressing scientific knowledge and environmental information challenges for biodiversity offsetting in the UK. Summary report for policy makers on the second 'Towards no net loss, and beyond' workshop, 29 September 2010. Natural Capital Initiative Partners, 24pp. (UNSPECIFIED)

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Abstract/Summary

This report summarises the views and ideas expressed during a workshop to identify and assess the scientific knowledge and environmental information needed to underpin the possible large-scale implementation of biodiversity offsetting in the UK. The event involved 37 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 utilised. Biodiversity offsets can potentially be applied to development in terrestrial, freshwater, coastal or marine environments. They can take the form of ‘case by case’ (site-specific) offsets, 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. Good quality biodiversity data are needed to underpin the development and operation of biodiversity offsetting in the UK. Whilst the data resource available in the UK is world-leading, there are still limitations which need to be resolved. 2. The biodiversity data which currently exist in the UK are sufficient to support implementation of biodiversity offsetting now. However, these data represent only a starting point, which must be built upon if offsetting is to deliver positively for biodiversity. 3. A comprehensive assessment of data sources should be undertaken to ascertain what data exist to inform offset development, with identification of significant gaps in availability. 4. Biodiversity data must be standardised, to enable sharing between stakeholders involved in the design and development of offset sites. 5. Biodiversity offsetting has the potential to contribute to the climate resilience of the landscape in the UK. 6. The location of biodiversity offsets should be planned strategically in order to improve ecological networks and enhance the connectivity of landscapes. 7. To design effective offsets for the residual impacts of development on a site, it is necessary to understand what aspects of biodiversity need to be offset. 8. Ecological restoration projects can be very successful. There are, however, limitations to how far ecological restoration can offset the residual impacts of development on biodiversity. 9. Simple principles of ecological restoration can guide the design of biodiversity offsetting schemes. 10. Sharing practical experiences and understanding will assist in the most effective and resource-efficient creation of offset sites. Each of the key messages is described on Pages 10 to 15. These 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 Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment
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: 25 Jun 2014 11:31 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/507100

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