Evolving policy and governance context
This conference took place against the backdrop of:
- the UK government commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050;
- introduction of the Environment Bill to the previous parliament;
- the final report of the Landscapes Review - which in part calls for a more coordinated approach to landscape management; and
- launch of the £220m International Biodiversity Fund.
The seminar followed the inaugural meeting of the Economics of Biodiversity Review, which looks to prevent biodiversity loss by adding economic value to the benefits of biodiversity.
Delegates discussed 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.
Further sessions examined the impact of changes proposed in the Agriculture Bill 2019-20 - 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 for the protection and promotion of biodiversity.
Ensuring biodiversity net gain in new developments
With the Environment Bill - introduced in the previous parliament - 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 assessed what this means in practice for stakeholders.
Local approaches to biodiversity and species protection
Further sessions provided 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.
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