Companies or individuals seeking land to site natural capital elements can now quickly and easily find suitable spaces thanks to an innovative ‘matchmaking’ scheme from Fisher German.
The property consultancy network has developed the Green Offset platform, which links up parties looking to find land for any environmental schemes with willing landowners who have acreage and assets available to facilitate this.
The platform has been created to help develop the market for natural capital schemes, such as fresh water, soil and species, which are being driven by the proposals in the Environment Bill.
Pressure on developers
The Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, is expected to require new development to avoid a loss of and deliver a net increase in biodiversity, placing additional environmental requirements on developers.
If the Bill passes, developers will be expected to provide a 10 per cent ‘biodiversity net gain’ in their plans – this may involve them having to find alternative sites for offsetting the environmental loss which has been caused by the development.
Although the Bill has not yet gained parliamentary approval, several local authorities and developers are already applying the principal of biodiversity net gain to planning decisions.
Alex Watts, Surveyor at Fisher German, said: “Developers are often required in planning permissions to address environmental harm their projects might cause.
“And with the Environment Bill being debated in Parliament, these requirements look set to become even greater.
“The Green Offset makes it easier for Offset Seekers with environmental obligations to identify land where they can site natural capital schemes. It offers a simple way to search for suitable areas quickly and efficiently, and gives them access to a wide array of landowners in a variety of locations.”
Income opportunity for farmers
For landowners, the provision of land for biodiversity offsetting and other natural capital schemes offers potential for new income into farms and estates. With recent changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), provision of offsetting could help to bolster income, and the Green Offset could provide them with a source of interest.
“For Offset Providers interested in diversifying their incomes and exploring new opportunities in emerging environmental markets, the platform provides a simple tool to market their land without committing them to anything up front. By bringing two willing parties together it is hoped that the Green Offset will speed up the process enabling the negotiation of mutually beneficial agreements.
The Green Offset is set to go live in May.