Different wildlife and planning legislation and policy affects the construction industry across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Task Group have identified UK Government policy on biodiversity.
Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services outlines the Government’s strategy for embedding biodiversity considerations in all main sectors of public policy in England and sets out a programme for the future to make the changes necessary to conserve, enhance and work with the grain of nature and ecosystems rather than against them. The strategy will be regularly reviewed – visit the Defra website for further information about the strategy and associated policies.
In England, the Government have released a consultation for introducing biodiversity offsetting, with the aim to achieve an overall net gain for biodiversity by locating the right offsets in the right place to improve ecological networks across England. This work is being supported by the Natural Capital Committee, which is a group that has been set up by Government to advise on using Government natural capital in a sustainable way. The Valuing Nature Network is working with its members to aid the process of developing meaningful methods of valuation of biodiversity both in monetary and non-monetary terms.
There is still a broader debate taking place in this area around the merits and faults of placing monetary value on biodiversity and habitats, in particular the dangers of making nature inherently replaceable.
The Wildlife trust have developed the Biodiversity benchmark, which is a standard for assessing and certifying an organisation’s systems for achieving continual biodiversity protection and enhancement on its landholdings and their implementation. And there is also an Industry initiative called the BIG challenge which aims to show how biodiversity enhancements can be simple, affordable and achievable. It encourages projects to ‘do one thing’ and add one new biodiversity enhancement to their site, which applies to both new build and refurbishments.
In June 1992, the Convention of Biological Diversity was signed by 159 governments at the Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro (the ‘Rio Convention’) which provides a legal framework for global biodiversity conservation. In the UK, Government responded by creating the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) and UK Biodiversity Steering Group in 1993/94.