Skip to main content

No results found

Living, Country, Knowledge, Science

Biodiversity Offsetting

divider
James Gillies
“If, for instance, you have land that is near an existing wildlife habitat or land that could become a new biodiverse habitat that benefits nature and wildlife as a whole, there is likely to be funding available to pay for some or all of your project.”
Biodiversity Offsetting Forest Path

Biodiversity offsetting: sounds a bit scary, doesn't it? It sounds like something that big developers and huge government organisations do. So, how could you as an individual landowner help?

James Gillies, a specialist land manager and countryside steward, explains how biodiversity offsetting is not just for multinationals.

Anyone who has some land and falls within certain designated areas can benefit from the government's biodiversity offsetting initiatives there are many schemes currently available for people who may be able to offer a part of their land to offset damage done by large construction and infrastructure projects. Probably the most well-known biodiversity offset fund we have had available in our area recently was the Network Rail fund which was put in place to offset the damage done to the surrounding habitats during the electrification of the Great Western Railway. The work done during the electrification process had an inevitable adverse effect on local wildlife; some habitats were lost or damaged, including woodlands, grasslands, meadows and scrublands. Those habitats, once lost and damaged, need to be replaced and repaired.

The last stage of the project

Offsetting is the last stage of conservation and protection during development, initially during the planning phase to ensure that the damage to wildlife is firstly avoided, then during the actual project it is minimised and eventually reversed where possible. The remaining damage will then be offset– this will usually occur in a location where there is already existing habitat, or near to existing habitats.

Biodiversity offsetting cannot be used on sites that include Ancient Woodlands, Sites of Scientific Interest and national nature reserves. These sites are afforded a higher level of protection where development and possible habitat loss is concerned. Funding is available within our region through various funds at the moment, and grants can be offered for projects that can offer any improvement to biodiversity in the following habitat areas:

  • Woodlands
  • Wetlands
  • Ponds
  • Rivers
  • Greenspaces and Meadows
  • Improvements to the wider countryside and to improve access to nature

So if, for instance, you have land that is near an existing wildlife habitat or land that could become a new biodiverse habitat that benefits nature and wildlife as a whole, there is likely to be funding available to pay for some or all of your project. There has been such a diverse array of projects paid for with biodiversity offsetting in our region, from creating circular walks in Buscot to new freshwater habitats in Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve; there really is funding available for a wide and diverse range of projects. If you have some space and a wildlife project in mind I would advise contacting a land manager who can advise and help plan your project.

James Gillies is the founder of the 100 Meadows initiative, Countryside Steward, Woodland Trust Consultant and Trustee of BBOWT (Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust)

james-gillies.com

RECOMMENDED

Mon 18 Mar 2019

Six Science Superstars

to Watch in 2019

This time last year I was actually on the receiving end of a list that made my 2018. I was mentioned by Melinda Gates as one of six women in science to watch, so I know first-hand the impact of a good list. So, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the following is my list of six science superstars set to change our world. 

Mon 18 Mar 2019

The Princess who Hid in a Tree

An Anglo-Saxon Story

Frideswide was clearly a remarkable young woman, who overcame formidable challenges. Yet while overseas visitors to Oxford encounter her story, through a glowing stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones near the saint’s medieval shrine, not many local people know it.  

Fri 15 Mar 2019

Our resident interior designer, Amanda Hanley, answers your questions about design schemes, placement, art work and bedrooms.

Fri 15 Mar 2019

Spring Clean Your Tax Position

As Well As Your Home!

For most of us, the mere thought of tax is enough to drain us of all enthusiasm, let alone encourage us to consider whether we can save any. So let me try and inspire you with some of the following simple and effective ways on how to save tax, and add some flexibility into your future plans.