Ecological Planning & Research

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biodiversity offsetting

What is Biodiversity Offsetting?

Biodiversity Offsetting is a process by which any unavoidable losses to biodiversity through development are compensated by the delivery of biodiversity gains, which must be measured through some form of metric. Developers can either provide the offset themselves, or buy into an offset by a third party.


The Government’s commitment to Biodiversity Offsetting is set out in Biodiversity 2020: A Strategy for England’s Wildlife and Ecosystem Services.


Defra is currently engaged in consultation to determine how Biodiversity Offsetting will actually be applied in practice, and the system is being trialled in 6 pilot areas. Nevertheless, several Local Authorities (e.g. Aylesbury Vale District Council) have already started to develop and implement their own systems; usually based on Defra’s draft metric.


How Can EPR Help You?

EPR is at the forefront of the introduction of Biodiversity Offsetting to the UK planning process. We have practical experience of applying Defra’s draft metric to a number of development schemes and successfully ‘brokering’ Biodiversity Offsets for major planning applications with Local Planning Authorities.


In addition, we have also engaged in privately funded research into how Biodiversity Offsetting has been carried out in other countries that operate such a system; including assessing what works and what does not. Our research work, carried out during a professional exchange programme with an Ecological Consultancy in Victoria, Australia, that implements a Biodiversity Offsetting System, was written up as an article in In Practice, the professional Journal of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. Click the image preview to read our article.


Calling All Land Owners!

EPR is currently on the lookout for land owners who are willing to register an interest in their land potentially being used as part of a Biodiversity Offsetting scheme.


In simple terms, this means that, if the Biodiversity Offset goes ahead, you will be paid by a developer for them to be allowed to create new wildlife habitats on your land, and sometimes to enable them to translocate populations of animals or plants onto that land as an alternative habitat to areas lost to development. You may also then be paid to manage the land afterwards in a certain way that is good for wildlife, or to allow someone else to do this on the developer’s behalf, for a defined period of time.


Registering an interest in your land being used for Biodiversity Offsets does not commit you (or anyone else) to anything in particular. In fact, nothing at all may happen at first.

How it works, is that once the requirement for a developer to deliver a Biodiversity Offset in your area has been identified, we will contact you to explain what that particular required Biodiversity Offset would entail. We would talk this through with you, and, if following this discussion you were then happy to proceed, a legal agreement would be drawn up, setting out what you agree to allow or to deliver on your land, and what the developer promises in return in terms of payment or support.


If you would like to register your land and express an interest, please contact us on either 01962 794720, or email



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