Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Biodiversity and species protection - net gain, governance and local approaches

Morning, Thursday, 21st November 2019

Central London


This seminar will discuss the next steps for promoting and protecting biodiversity across England.

Delegates will examine the impact of potential changes emerging from the Agriculture and Environment bills including the introduction of public goods and the evolving regulatory system.


There will be keynote addresses from: Tony Juniper, Chair, Natural England; Begonia Filgueira, Legal Director, Foot Anstey and Co-Chair, Brexit Task Force, United Kingdom Environmental Law Association; Mike Green, Manager, Agricultural Sustainability, BASF and Richard Pullen, Head, Wildlife and Agri-Environment Policy, Defra.

The agenda

  • Biodiversity and species protection - the policy landscape;
  • Strategic priorities and Local Nature Recovery Strategies - monitoring, planning and resource allocation;
  • Environmental governance post-Brexit – collaboration, enforcement and priorities for the Office for Environmental Protection;
  • Developing an agricultural system that promotes biodiversity - public goods, soil quality and managing sustainability;
  • Case study - biodiversity net gain in new developments and integration with infrastructure projects;
  • Driving investment in conservation and identifying key projects;
  • Emerging regulatory priorities for environmental protection; and
  • Next steps for ecological restoration and protecting biodiversity.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

This Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum conference has attracted strong interest from policymakers. It will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: Cabinet Office; Defra; DfT; Environment Agency; Food Standards Agency; Government Legal Department; HMRC; HM Treasury; MHCLG; Office of Rail and Road; Scottish Government and Welsh Government.

Evolving policy and governance context

This conference takes place against the backdrop of the UK Government committing to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, the publication of the Environment Bill summer policy statement - with the full Bill due to be published early in the next Parliamentary session, and the interim report of the Landscapes Review – which in part calls for a more coordinated approach to landscape management.

Delegates will discuss the impact and workability of proposed changes - including the introduction of conservation covenants, and steps to improve the management of water - on biodiversity and species protection, and what more needs to be done on a local and national level to support biodiversity.

With the summer policy statement also committing to setting up an Office of Environmental Protection, delegates will also assess the evolving regulatory landscape and what this means for enforcement post-Brexit.

Further sessions will also examine the impact of changes proposed in the Agriculture Bill - including moves towards a system of payment for public goods in areas such as soil, water and air quality, and public access to the countryside on the protection and promotion of biodiversity.

Ensuring biodiversity net gain in new developments

With the summer policy statement also setting out plans to introduce a mandatory approach to biodiversity net gain - which will require developers to ensure a 10% increase in habitat value for wildlife compared with the pre-development baseline - attendees will assess what this means in practice for stakeholders, and what more needs to be done to address exemptions across nationally significant infrastructure projects and marine development, which remain out of scope of the Bill.

Local approaches to biodiversity and species protection

Further sessions will provide an opportunity to assess the impact of the new statutory requirement for the development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies - aimed at setting out local priorities and identifying opportunities for the local environment to be improved - and how best to monitor biodiversity gain or loss at a local level and effectively allocate resources.

Keynote Speaker

Tony Juniper

Chair, Natural England

Keynote Speaker

Tony Juniper

Chair, Natural England


Mike Green

Manager, Agricultural Sustainability, BASF

Ben Nelmes

Head of Public Policy, Sustainable Investment and Finance Association

Professor David Hill

Chair, The Environment Bank

David Lowe

Team Leader, Ecology, Historic Environment & Landscape, Warwickshire County Council

Claire Wansbury

Associate Director of Ecology, Atkins

Richard Pullen

Head, Wildlife and Agri-Environment Policy, Defra

Begonia Filgueira

Legal Director, Foot Anstey and Co-Chair, Brexit Task Force, United Kingdom Environmental Law Association

Professor Selena Gray

Chair, West of England Nature Partnership and Capacity Lead, CLAHRC West