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EIC News

07 FEB 2020

DOWNLOAD NOW: DELIVERING ENVIRONMENTAL NET GAIN

Calls to go beyond “biodiversity net gain” and introduce “environmental net gain”

Delivering Environmental Net Gain argues that we should be building on the concept of Biodiversity Net Gain, currently enshrined in the Environment Bill, to also include wider improvements in Natural Capital.

EIC, which represents businesses which deliver environmental solutions, is calling on amendments to the Bill to allow for this new concept which would broaden the current definition of “Net Gain” to include natural assets, the services they deliver, and the benefits to society which are derived from them.

The report argues that current legislation should be more ambitious and that our understanding of Natural Capital is sophisticated enough to take a broader, and more holistic, view of the environment.

Mathew Farrow, executive director at the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), said: “If we are going to renew both our Natural Capital and our infrastructure, we need to ensure that development genuinely improves the environment we all rely on. We have developed enough knowledge of our natural assets, and how to assess them, to substantially increase the ambitions and impact of the Environment Bill.”

Robert Spencer, Director, Sustainable Development AECOM, and chair of the EIC Natural Capital group, said: “We have set out pragmatic approaches from environmental consultancies, developers and the infrastructure operators we have worked with closely over the last 18 months.

“Environmental Net Gain is an approach for improving the condition of, and ecosystems services that flow from, our natural assets in the context of development. Understanding local context and the relation between communities and the natural environment in a given area, is critical to an effective approach.

“We also need a substantial increase in resource at Local Planning Authority level in order to manage and apply the benefits from Environmental Net Gain. Finally, the report makes several important, but straightforward recommendations for implementation through changes to Environmental Impact Assessment and NPPF processes.”

In related news, Defra announced the launch of its Natural Capital tool at the end of January. This was developed in collaboration with EIC. The online tool enables better’ environmental decision-making by valuing natural capital. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: ““This [tool] comes at a critical time when the protection of our environment is ever more important in combating climate change and reversing habitat loss.”

Download a copy of the report below.

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Delivering Environmental Net Gain

February 2020

EIC argues for the concept which builds on Biodiversity Net Gain.

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