CASE STUDY - compensation for small impacts

A small (0.05ha), but unavoidable, impact to secondary woodland habitat for proposed parking facilities for a local business in Rugby, Warwickshire resulted in a biodiversity unit loss of 0.54. The local planning authority was minded to approve the development if no net loss biodiversity compensation could be secured. Environment Bank worked with the landowner of the adjoining woodland to develop a compensation package that would secure an area of 0.35 ha of long-term woodland restoration and management. Shortly after permission was granted 0.75 conservation credits were purchased by the developer (Aug 2014) and payments began to the landowner of the compensation receptor site. This scheme will fund essential thinning works to the canopy whilst also enabling planting-up of diverse, native understood vegetation and ongoing ride and bramble management.

While it is assumed that small developments will have negligible impacts to biodiversity, from our experience in applying the metric to a variety of developments of all sizes, this is often untrue - all losses and all habitats should be accounted for to avoid a net loss of biodiversity. In fact, impacts at minor developments have been shown to have larger biodiversity losses per hectare than major developments. In this instance the woodland habitat was considered particularly important, hence, off-site compensation was required despite the small scale of impact.