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IEEP study urges Commission to introduce mandatory biodiversity offsetting

A study led by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) suggests mandatory biodiversity offsetting that goes beyond built developments and extractive industries – including activities in the fisheries, agriculture and forestry sectors – as the most effective strategy if the Commission is to halt ecosystem service and biodiversity loss by 2020 and therefore achieve the objective of its Biodiversity Strategy. The study has been commissioned by the EC to look into policy options for an EU ‘no net loss initiative’, which is considered necessary to tackle the continuing decline of species and habitats in view of the fact that the EU’s target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 has not been achieved. Voluntary requirements, the study concludes, often only achieve a very low level of offsetting. With strong rules, monitoring and enforcement systems in place, possibly put in place through a framework directive or similar instrument, biodiversity offsetting has the potential to successfully deal with fragmentation issues and restore semi-natural habitats, according to the report. However, it is also stressed that impact avoidance, minimisation and reduction and restoration measures should always come first. The ‘no net loss initiative’ is expected to be brought into being in 2015, preceded by a formal internet consultation and impact assessment. READ MORE

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Issue 33