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    Offsetting Nature? Habitat Banking and Biodiversity Offsets in the English Land Use Planning System

    Hannis, M. and Sullivan, Sian (2012) Offsetting Nature? Habitat Banking and Biodiversity Offsets in the English Land Use Planning System. Technical Report. Green House, Weymouth, UK.

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    Land use planning is a key arena for the spectacles of localism and marketisation being staged by our self-proclaimed greenest government ever. A new “presumption in favour of sustainable development” aims to encourage housebuilding and other development by simplifying and decentralising the planning system, while protecting the natural environment. This protection is in part to be achieved through a new market in off-site mitigation, supplementing existing policies which (can) require onsite mitigation of habitat degradation. The proposed system allows developers to offset deleterious impacts on biodiversity in one place by paying for improvements somewhere else, at a market rate. The message is that this “habitat banking” system will not only aggregate small habitats into ecologically significant reserves, while facilitating the ‘development’ we allegedly need to escape financial crisis, but also open up new income streams for landowners and reserve managers to spend on habitat conservation. By moving mitigation somewhere else, however, it will also reinforce the message that humans and other species live in separate places, that the non-human is not present in everyday life, but inhabits a separate world, which is fragile and in need of protection. This paper argues that displacing and marketising the mitigation of habitat degradation may serve to entrench this separation, thus retarding rather than facilitating the emergence of ecologically sustainable human settlements. It examines the use of habitat banking and biodiversity offsetting in the English planning system, and situates this in an international context, before offering some brief reflections on its likely effects and broader implications.


    Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
    Additional Information: ISBN: 9780956954572
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Dr Sian Sullivan
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2013 14:55
    Last Modified: 27 Jun 2020 18:49


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