Biodiversity offsetting should not be allowed in National Parks


We’ve recently objected to Government proposals to allow developers to create new habitats elsewhere to compensate for the loss of wildlife on the site they wish to develop. This process is known as biodiversity offsetting and the intention is that it would speed up development by offering a simpler, quicker way for developers to address the biodiversity impacts of their proposals.

Biodiversity offsetting is already in use in some other countries including the United States and Australia. There are a number of pilots underway in this country but the Government is proposing to introduce a scheme without waiting for the results of these.

We’ve expressed concern at the speed at which the Government is bringing forward these proposals without strong evidence of the potential outcomes. We believe there is a real risk of lasting damage to our most precious landscapes if biodiversity offsetting is to be allowed in National Parks.  The first statutory purpose of National Parks is to conserve and enhance wildlife, cultural heritage and natural beauty and allowing biodiversity offsetting in these areas would be completely contrary to this, particularly if the offset was provided outside the National Park.

The consultation document pays very little attention to the links between biodiversity and landscape but the biodiversity of an area is an integral part of its landscape character and heritage which would be lost if the habitat is replaced in another location. This is another reason why we believe that biodiversity offsetting should not be applied in National Parks which are given special protection for their landscape value.