Previously, creating alternative nature sites to compensate for the damage caused by development was implemented on a case-by-case basis. However, in April 2012, Defra launched a two-year biodiversity offsetting pilot to test the effectiveness of applying the method to the planning process. RSK associate director Ruth Voigt was a member of the sounding board set up by Defra in 2012 to review the guidance documents for developers before the launch of the pilot study.
RSK has already applied biodiversity offsetting on several ecology projects, which have developed the team’s capabilities in this new, but rapidly growing, area. They are therefore well qualified for similar projects and are looking forward to using their experience and applying biodiversity offsetting on future projects.
There are still several challenges to be addressed before biodiversity offsetting is fully implemented. However, it is likely that the concept will be introduced nationally in the next few years. RSK will be well placed to support its clients as the policy changes.