7 May 2019

The construction industry backs biodiversity net gain

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), reports that more than 1 million species are at risk from extinction.

It also highlights that more than half a million species on land have ‘insufficient habitat for long-term survival’ and more than one-third of the marine mammals and nearly one-third of sharks and fish are threatened with extinction.

Sir Robert Watson, chair of the IPBES, said that a “transformative change through a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values” is the only way to make a difference.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) is extremely passionate about this subject and has been making a great effort to support the Government's ambition to make sure development leaves the environment in a better state than before.

The NFB has worked closely with Natural England (NE) on this matter, for example, on the district license for the Great Crested Newt, which invests directly in the conservation of the species and its habitats, while speeding up planning approvals.

Through collaboration, developers and ecologists have worked together to deliver improved outcomes and this has led to further opportunities to progress similar conservation efforts as well as buy in on the mandated biodiversity net gain in the planning system, announced on 13 March 2019.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The construction industry is already a world leader in delivering positive biodiversity outcomes but our solutions are sometimes too fragmented. We must bring our knowledge together so that we leave the environment in a better state than before.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), said: “A lot more work is needed to identify biodiversity measurements, opportunities and solutions. We’re proud to be working alongside DEFRA and Natural England to make that happen because through collaboration, we can deliver better outcomes more quickly.”