Author Topic: Defra consider 'Bio-banking' system  (Read 934 times)

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Offline stangrof

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Defra consider 'Bio-banking' system
« on: June 16, 2009, 01:55:28 pm »

Defra consider 'Bio-banking' system
The Government is considering a system of "conservation credits" that would allow developers to "offset" damage to wildlife by buying areas of the countryside elsewhere.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Published: 6:50PM BST 16 Jun 2009

A report on "Biodiversity Offsets" commissioned by the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs said there was an "urgent need" to stop the decline in wildlife habitats in Britain.

A system of "conservation credits" where any cost to the environment is compensated by at least an equivalent investment in biodiversity elsewhere is considered a viable option.
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'Bio-banking' is already in place in parts of the US and Australia and the idea of using private investment to protect wildlife is popular with many landowners and environmentalists, including Prince Charles. It has already been suggested that proposed developments like the Severn Barrage offset environmental damage by buying up a huge swathe of Norfolk.

However there are a number of concerns of how the system would fit in with the planning process and be enforced so it is not used as an excuse to build on precious habitats.

The report proposes a series of pilots projects to look into biodiversity offsets.

Defra is now considering the idea.

A spokesman said: "A healthy natural environment is essential for the future of the United Kingdom, and all possible ways of conserving and enhancing it need to be considered. This scoping study on biodiversity offsets to conserve wildlife will help us to consider whether and how further consideration of this is taken forward."

Nick Herbert, the Tory environment spokesman, is currently carrying out a separate review of conservation credits.

He said: "We need a new approach which reaches beyond the traditional levers of regulation, recognises the limitations on public spending and looks at how to secure new forms of investment in conservation.

"That is why David Cameron has announced a consultation on 'conservation credits', potentially an exciting idea to enhance biodiversity by ensuring that any development is offset by an investment in new habitats for wildlife. For the first time, we would be placing a value on biodiversity, because only if we truly value something will we ensure that it is protected."
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