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Last week Defra released provisional prices for their Statutory Biodiversity Credits, starting at an initial value of £42,000 per credit, with payments for higher tiers reaching £650,000. It has also been announced that developers choosing the statutory scheme will have to acquire twice the number of credits compared to sourcing units privately from within their own local authority area.
In recent months landowners have been keen to gain advice about biodiversity net gain opportunities but the market is not yet developed enough to be able to accurately predict the financial opportunity that BNG might present. Holly Story, Head of Environment and Sustainability at GSC Grays believes the published credit prices have the potential to accelerate the private market by incentivising developers to devise plans to meet Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements and, as a result, landowners will soon have a clearer picture of the potential value of biodiversity projects on their land.
Holly said “The question of what BNG might be worth to landowners is regularly asked of our teams. With the introduction of statutory credit prices, developers will be incentivised to devise comprehensive plans for meeting their BNG requirements, especially with the mandatory implementation of BNG for most sites scheduled for November 2023.
“This development also has the potential to give landowners greater confidence. As demand for biodiversity units increases and a market price emerges, landowners will be able to embark on habitat restoration or creation work with greater assurance that these environmentally beneficial actions can be financially rewarding as well.
“The Statutory Biodiversity Credits will be made available for purchase by developers who are unable to procure the required units through the private market. By setting prices at a level designed to dissuade developers from resorting to this scheme, DEFRA aims to encourage them to make their own arrangements for delivering biodiversity gains. This could involve on-site habitat management or purchasing units from landowners or habitat banks within their region. “