Biodiversity offsetting: Govt mustn’t gamble with UK’s wildlife

12th November 2013

Responding to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report today (Tuesday 12 November 2013) on the Government’s biodiversity offsetting plans, Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner Sandra Bell said: “We mustn’t gamble with Britain’s wild spaces – nature cannot just be shifted around the country at the whim of a developer. 


“The Government should pull the plug on these madcap ‘off-setting’ plans and get on with delivering its commitments to protect and boost wildlife through better planning.”

Friends of the Earth has identified many risks from biodiversity offsetting, including:

  • Communities could lose cherished local nature sites with no chance to object and no say where new habitats go.
  • Instead of protecting wildlife and respecting the environment, developers could use offsetting as a way of increasing the amount of inappropriate development and pay to protect and enhance habitats in other locations where land is cheaper.
  • The true value of natural spaces will be undervalued as offsetting won’t account for nature’s contribution to flood mitigation and human health, or the pollination services provided by bees and other insects.


Notes to editors

1. Biodiversity offsetting is a market based tool that assesses loss of biodiversity in a development scheme and requires the loss to be replaced elsewhere.

2. Friends of the Earth has submitted a response to the Government’s proposals warning that nature is too complex to simply be moved at the whim of a developer and its proposals may fail to comply with EU and International laws which are based on the principle that preventative action be taken and that environmental damage is rectified at source. The environment charity wants the Government to properly implement the new provisions for nature it introduced into the planning system last year – and which it admits are not yet working – before attempting an untested and highly risky new approach.

This response is available upon request from the press office.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust