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Exploring the ecological outcomes of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain using evidence from early-adopter jurisdictions in England

zu Ermgassen, Sophus O.S.E., Marsh, Sally, Ryland, Kate, Church, Edward, Marsh, Richard, Bull, Joseph (2021) Exploring the ecological outcomes of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain using evidence from early-adopter jurisdictions in England. Conservation Letters, . ISSN 1755-263X. (doi:10.1111/conl.12820) (KAR id:88387)

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Abstract

Net outcome-type biodiversity policies are proliferating globally as perceived mechanisms to reconcile economic development and conservation objectives. The UK government’s Environment Bill will mandate that most new developments in England demonstrate they deliver a biodiversity net gain (BNG) to receive planning permission, representing the most wide-ranging net outcome-type policy globally. However, as with many nascent net-outcome policies, the likely outcomes of mandatory BNG have not been explored empirically. We assemble all BNG assessments (accounting for ~6% of England’s annual housebuilding and other infrastructure) submitted from January 2020-February 2021 in six early-adopter councils who are implementing mandatory No Net Loss or BNG requirements in advance of the national adoption of mandatory BNG, and analyse the aggregate habitat changes proposed. Our sample is associated with a 34% reduction in the area of non-urban habitats, generally compensated by commitments to deliver smaller areas of higher-quality habitats years later in the development project cycle. Ninety-five percent of biodiversity units delivered in our sample come from habitats within or adjacent to the development footprint managed by the developers. However, we find that these gains fall within a governance gap whereby they risk being unenforceable; a challenge which is shared with other net outcome-type policies implemented internationally.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/conl.12820
Uncontrolled keywords: Biodiversity offsetting, ecological compensation, environmental governance, environmental policy, impact evaluation, impact mitigation, market-based instruments, nature conservation, biodiversity net gain, no net loss
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Sophus Zu-ermgassen
Date Deposited: 26 May 2021 19:26 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2021 11:46 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/88387 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
zu Ermgassen, Sophus O.S.E.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6044-3389
Bull, Joseph: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7337-8977
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