As the pressure to commit more of England’s green and pleasant land to building development becomes an increasing threat to our landscape, there are opportunities out there to not only safeguard but to also enhance the way in which farm land is managed to support wildlife and eco systems.
Today Oaks Barn Farm have entered into the first stage of their Expression of Interest, in making a 30 year Commitment to making their Farm Stay site part of this offsetting process, to enhance the wildlife opportunities on their Farm in Rural Warwickshire. The plan is work in progress but will include the introduction of a wildflower meadow and expansion to existing hedgerow to include semi mature trees.
Everywhere, Planning Authorities in England and Wales already have the powers within the planning system to require appropriate biodiversity compensation. Offsetting is just a better mechanism for assessing and delivering this and it is supported by Government – it was a key policy initiative in the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper. Government biodiversity offsetting pilots are already underway. The Environment Bank is a lead partner on two such pilots, in Essex and Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull.
What is Biodiversity offsetting?
Offsetting is a process that will improve biodiversity throughout the UK in the long-term, whilst enabling development to become more environmentally sustainable and promoting local economic growth.
It is an intelligent, efficient and cost-effective way of managing biodiversity impact from development. In-depth evaluation of the extent and type of biodiversity affected allows the Environment Bank to calculate the amount of compensation required of developers. This compensation or ‘conservation credit’ is then invested in a different site within the surrounding area where biodiversity conservation forms part of long-term management plans.