One tool made available to developers to overcome objections to developments on the grounds of loss of habitat is the concept of ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’.
This is a mechanism that allows developers to substitute habitats, i.e swap one piece of land for another, if they can show that the net effect on ecology and the environment is zero, or better, improved.
The process involves surveys and counting, assumptions about the behaviour of the swapped land, and an algorithmic approach to generate a single Biodiversity Net Gain value. This number can then be used as justification for the developers’ actions.
Many have suspected that this is just a ruse by Government to quell environmental campaigners, with little scientific backing or studies that stand up to rigorous examination.
In the case of the Tufa Field, the translocation was justified to the planning committee on the grounds of a 60% BNG.
A new study has just been published which effectively rubbishes BNG as a useful or meaningful way of protecting Biodiversity, or indeed the ecology of any environment.
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