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Biodiversity offsetting costs up to

A study undertaken by GHK Consulting Ltd and Bio Intelligence Service for DG environment has suggested that the cost of offsetting damage to biodiversity in Europe could be between €30,000 and €100,000 per hectare. The study aimed to look at the potential demand for, and supply of, habitat banking in the EU which “is an instrument that can be used to deliver compensation by implementing and pooling compensatory measures in advance of a development, enabling developers to purchase credits from established compensation schemes (habitat banks) to offset their impacts. Credits… may be earned through measures to conserve both habitats and species”. It could be implemented through the revision of either the Environmental Impact Assessment directive or through amending the Strategic Environmental Assessment directive. For it to be effective it would require a strong regulatory framework as well as certification, monitoring, reporting and enforcement. The rarity of the species as well as how long an offset takes to mature, would need to be factored in.  There are still pitfalls associated such schemes including the suitability of buying credits for one type of habitat after damaging another, and the distance between compensatory projects. The study also raised the issue of public acceptance suggesting the best method would be to provide strict geographic rules providing the potential to limit the credit supply. Report Executive Summary Annexes

Issue 20