Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Next steps for biodiversity and wildlife protection in England - the future for BNG, ELMS, UK and international policy, investment, guidance, support, collaboration and implementation

March 2023

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference focused on key priorities and next steps for biodiversity, wildlife protection and ecological restoration in England - looking at Biodiversity Net Gain, land management, and wider issues in environmental policy.

It was a timely opportunity to examine the latest direction of policy following the Environmental Improvement Plan 2023, and updates to the Environmental Land Management Schemes - as well as the outcomes of negotiations at COP15 on a new international treaty to halt and reverse nature losses by 2030.

Stakeholders and policymakers discussed issues and next steps for policy, regulation, implementation and investment, in areas including:

  • Biodiversity Net Gain - with the Government currently reviewing its Consultation on Biodiversity Net Gain Regulations and Implementation
  • Environmental land management schemes - under review by the Government, with reports that two of the three main schemes are to be retained
  • a land use framework - expected to be published in 2023, aiming to help reach net-zero and biodiversity targets, and support farmers in adapting to climate change
  • the Nature Recovery Green Paper - with the Government considering responses to its consultation

With BNG set to become a mandatory requirement in November 2023, and with continued uncertainty around policy frameworks and guidance, stakeholders and policymakers had the opportunity to consider next steps for preparation and implementation of the new legislation, and the way forward for addressing challenges in meeting environmental ambitions.

Delegates also considered proposals around ELMs, including the impact on biodiversity and the natural environment, moves towards making space for nature in the farmed landscape, and changes to land use and habitat restoration.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with Tom Lafford, Head of Land Use Policy, Defra; Dr Nick White, Principal Advisor - Net Gain, Natural England; and Professor Bob Smith, Professor in Conservation Science and Director of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology; University of Kent.

Overall, sessions in the agenda looked at:

  • the future for policy on biodiversity and wildlife protection in England - assessing progress, next steps and challenges in meeting policy targets
  • priorities for embedding biodiversity and wildlife requirements into the planning process - impact of mandatory BNG measures
  • the future of ELMs
  • strategic approaches for incorporating land use into the development of projects - housing, infrastructure, industrial and town development
  • priorities for attracting investment - supporting communities - providing the certainty needed to commit to nature recovery in the planning process
  • opportunities for collaboration - sharing and rollout of best practices - learning from regional and local initiatives

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from Cabinet Office; CCC; DBT; Defra; Department for Education; DESNZ; Department for Infrastructure, NI; DLUHC; DfT; EA; GLD; Government of Jersey; GO-Science; Isle of Man Government; Marine Scotland; Natural England; NIC; Ofwat; ORR; POST; Ofwat; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from both Houses of Parliament.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda