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  • by Karma Loveday

Biodiversity credits to cost up to £650,000 each

Defra has published indicative prices for the biodiversity credits that will be in play once biodiversity net gain policy becomes mandatory in November. After that, all major housing, commercial and infrastructure developments will be required to deliver a 10% benefit for nature.

Developers are expected to pursue on-site biodiversity enhancement as a priority, but can buy credits from Natural England to fund offsetting biodiversity enhancement work elsewhere as a “last resort option”. Defra said where statutory biodiversity credits are bought, a ‘spatial risk multiplier’ will apply, which doubles the amount of credits a developer will need (two credits must be bought for every one biodiversity unit needing to be compensated for).

Biodiversity credit prices will be tiered, to reflect the cost and value of different habitats. Prices per credit range from £42,000 to £650,000, excluding VAT. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/statutory-biodiversity-credit-prices.

Alongside the prices, Defra announced £9m of funding to help local authorities prepare for the biodiversity net gain scheme, and opened up the process by which organisations with a conservation focus can apply for ’responsible body status’ to allow them to enter into conservation covenant agreements with landowners. Conservation covenants are a new type of voluntary legal agreement which it is hoped will help secure the conservation of natural and heritage features of the landscape.

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