EIC, through its Nature & Biodiversity taskforce, has responded to a Defra consultation on Biodiversity Metrics.
The Government is consulting on proposed changes to biodiversity metrics to measure biodiversity net gain. The final statutory metrics will be used to measure biodiversity net gain for planning applications and for nationally significant infrastructure projects. These are expected to be formally published by the end of 2022.
The Biodiversity Metric is a tool which scores proposals based on their relative value to wildlife. Currently it exists in spreadsheet format, but the final version will eventually be published as an online tool.
Metrics taken into account include, a pre-development baseline (which outlines natural habitats), scores for distinctiveness, as well as on the size and strategic significance of proposed developments. Alongside this, scores will also be offered for post-development outcomes, with temporal (the time taken to enhance habitats) and delivery risks (the complexity in creating sites) assessed alongside spatial risks (the distance of habitat creation or enhancement owing to land-use changes).
A simplified version, called the Small Site Metrics will also be developed for planning purposes on smaller developments – for example fewer than 10 units on one site, or less than 0.5ha.
EIC’s consultation response, submitted via letter to Defra today, has outlined member views in these areas, feeding back on a range of issues, including proposed multipliers to reward off-site delivery, potential case studies to support a better and more practical understanding of the metrics used, views on mineral development, and practical suggestions to improve the metric calculation, data gathering and around process.
Commenting on the consultation response, Paul Barnes, policy researcher at EIC, said: “Our members are delighted to input into a key element of plans to introduce biodiversity net gain.”
“For the approach to be truly successful in ensuring a positive outcome for nature, we will need metrics which are clearly defined, fully understood, with additional support around their implementation and practical use.”
“It is clear this is a complex and technical area, so it’s even more important that the proposals reflect the breadth of views from expert environmental stakeholders with a working interest in this area. Thanks to their extensive experiences in this area, EIC members can be confident their voice will be listened to and fully considered.”
Interested in finding out more or getting involved? Explore more on EIC’s Nature & Biodiversity taskforce.
Download a copy of our consultation response below.