Biodiversity Offsetting Schemes Essay

3239 words - 13 pages


Modern society faces the challenge of developing its infrastructure and economy whilst improving the quality of the environment and biodiversity. The United Kingdom government’s Departments for Agricultural and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has suggested that these contending aspirations can potentially both be accomplished through a planning strategy known as Biodiversity Offsetting.
Biodiversity offsetting is a planning strategy that aims to compensate for losses of biodiversity in a given area by protecting an area elsewhere and generating gains that are ecologically equivalent to the loss in the area being developed (Maron et al. 2012.) In practice, this means that the residual ...view middle of the document...

) These submissions are publically available and throughout this thesis I aim to evaluate the range of opinions expressed across a variety of groups and determine the key areas of agreement and disagreement between the different stakeholders in the matter. I will then develop recommendations for the government with regards issues that will need to be addressed for all parties to be satisfied with a biodiversity offsetting scheme in the UK. I have approached 14 different organisations and analysed their submission to the consultation and see which opinions are shared and which opinions may differ in order to determine a favourable consensus for all stakeholders. These 14 organisations come from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds, varying from energy companies such as Energy UK, to conservation organisations such as Friends of the Lake District (FLD.)

Figure 1 in the appendices section shows the organisations whose consultation submissions I have analysed, what kind of organisation they are (charity, governmental, NDPB or private sector) and what their main priorities are. Having an understanding of the background of these organisations as well as what priorities they are invested in maintaining will be instrumental in proposing what the government should do next with regards to implementing a biodiversity offsetting system.

The first and most fundamental question that the consultation asks is whether or not the government should introduce a biodiversity offsetting system in England. From the organisations that have been consulted, the general consensus is that a biodiversity offsetting scheme should be adopted, but under certain stipulations, notably that the implementation of a system would be conditional on addressing the concerns raised in the responses to the consultation (IEMA.) From the organisations listed in Figure 1, only the Friends of the Lake District (FLD) express the opinion that offsetting may not be the best way to address the twin challenges of improving the environment and the economy that society faces. This is of no surprise, seeing as FLD are a charity committed specifically to the protection of Cumbria’s landscape and they would therefore not condone development on an area of land whose residual impacts on biodiversity would be compensated for elsewhere (FLD.) The argument made by the charity against offsetting is based on the prevention of losing biodiversity history, and that biodiversity will begin to be seen as a factor that must be accounted for quantitatively in reserves, but not in the context of location and local benefit (FLD.) Energy UK, although a supporter of an offsetting system, has expressed concerns over long-term maintenance liabilities of the offsets. Since Energy UK represents the interests of over 80 private energy companies in the UK, their foremost concern is to minimise any costs associated with environmental damage and restoration. Of the 14 organisations, 4 of them have stated that they...

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