Describes the ‘above and beyond’ nature of management actions at an offset site. Funding via offsetting and the sale of conservation credits is only available for the work that is not being done already at a site via another form of funding – for instance, additionality at sites receiving ELS funding may be straightforward, but may not be for sites receiving HLS funding.


The existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species in their natural environments, which is the aim of conservationists concerned about the indiscriminate destruction of rainforests and other habitats. (*Collins English Dictionary)

Biodiversity offsets

Defined by the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) as measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions designed to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from project development after appropriate prevention and mitigation measures have been taken.

Biodiversity units

Describe the impact calculated at the development site using the Defra metric.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

A new planning charge introduced by the Planning Act 2008. Developments may have to pay the charge depending on their use, size or location.

Conservation credits

Conservation credits represent the gain or improvement in quantity and quality of habitat at an Environment Bank creation or restoration offset receptor site.

Defra metric

This was developed by government for use within the two year pilot period (and after where there is interest) to assess the impacts (and any enhancements on-site that may balance those impacts) on habitats of development sites. The metric uses the area, type/importance and condition of the habitat present to calculate an impact in biodiversity units which can be offset with a purchase of conservation credits at a separate location. Conservation credits at offset sites are calculated using the same metric as at the impact site, but represent just the gain or improvement in habitat quantity and quality at a receptor site over time – target habitat credits minus the baseline habitat currently present. Multipliers are also applied to these calculations to incorporate the risks of delivering the offset – thereby increasing the size of the offset required to buffer against any potential failure.


An interconnected and symbiotic grouping of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms.

Government biodiversity offsetting pilot

Defra set up six government pilots across England, to test the biodiversity offsetting mechanism over two years, ending April 2014. Pilots were county-sized and brought together partners such as local planning authorities, wildlife trusts and other NGOs. Environment Bank were a key lead partner, acting as broker and providing a full-time project officer, within the Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull and Essex pilots.

Local Planning Authority

This is the local authority or council that is responsible for applying planning control in a particular geographical region. They are responsible for deciding whether a development can go ahead.

Local plan

Prepared by Local Planning Authorities to set out planning policies for their local authority area, which sets out local people’s views of how they wish their community to develop.

Mitigation Hierarchy

Required in UK planning policy where off-site compensation is used as a ‘last resort’ after all reasonable measures have been taken to avoid, minimise, and mitigate the impacts of a development on the biodiversity of a site.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The planning framework for England of March 2012 which sets out the planning policies for England and how they should be applied. It provides guidance for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) drawing up local plans and making decisions about planning applications. It asks for no net loss of biodiversity, that significant impacts are taken account of and that development is sustainable.

Planning conditions

These are applied to planning permissions that have been granted, permitting a development to go ahead only if certain conditions are satisfied. They include aspects such as time limits on commencement of development and actions regarding the environment.

Receptor sites

These are sites where a gain or environmental improvement is achieved via active management to restore and/or create habitat in exchange for compensation funding via the sale of conservation credits.

Section 106 planning obligations

These are legally binding agreements entered into by developers and are designed to mitigate for a particular impact that would arise from a development.

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's)

Sites designated as a SSSI are particularly important wildlife and geological sites. They have extra protection from development, pollution and unsustainable land management.

Special Protection Area (SPA)

Areas of land, water or sea identified as being of particular importance for the breeding, feeding, wintering or the migration of rare species of birds around the European Union.

UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

This action plan sets out a programme designed to conserve the biodiversity in the UK. It identifies and publishes a list of species and habitats that are priority in terms of conservation due to their rarity and rate of decline.


The arrangement or partitioning of land areas for various types of usage in cities, boroughs or townships.

The Registry

A free online registry for biodiversity compensation sites where landowners’ are registered for investment and developers can search for local sites. View our current sites

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