Environmental Credits and Trading
The Environment Act received Royal Assent on the 9th November 2021. This will provide a range of powers aiming to assist the Government in meeting its long-term, legally-binding environmental targets to improve air and water quality, protect wildlife, increase waste recycling and reduce plastics. These targets, plans and policies will improve the natural environment and range from the offsetting of nitrates to a requirement for developers to provide a 10% net gain in biodiversity as a result of any new development.
The Government envisages a situation where public and private sector work together to establish a market for these ‘environmental goods’ and push each other to improve the environment whilst still being able to complete projects necessary to society. One key tool for this will be Biodiversity Net Gain. Improving or creating a new habitat will result in ‘biodiversity units’, the number of which will be based on factors such as area, condition, distinctiveness, difficulty of establishment, time, spatial risk and the pre- and post-intervention baseline. These will be needed by developers to offset their projects if they cannot achieve a 10% net gain on the development site. These habitats must be secured via conservation covenant for at least 30 years with outcomes monitored by a ‘responsible body’ who will check up on an agreed management and monitoring plan .
Nutrient Neutrality offsets (phosphates and nitrates) will similarly be available in England following a Government pilot and Natural England mitigation schemes already set up.
See links below for more details and for Carbon Credits see here
Biodiversity Net Gain here
Nutrient Neutrality here
Environmental Credits User Guide here
Environmental Credits Purchaser Guide here