Who profits from DEFRA’s nature compensation schemes?

DEFRA’s nature compensation schemes could be worth £1.2bn a year, according to a report from the free market thinktank the IEA, but will wildlife profit or will others? Rachel Salvidge investigates

With mandatory biodiversity net gain on the cards, district species licensing being rolled out across the country and new environmental land management schemes in the offing, substantial amounts of money are set to flow in the direction of nature conservation, but at what cost and who is in line to make a profit?

DEFRA’s two nature compensation schemes – net gain and district licensing – contain an option allowing developers to pay a one-off fee (much less than they would have paid under the old system) in place of having to undertake complicated and time-consuming nature mitigation measures on a development site. The money is then used to create habitat off-site on land already allocated for the purpose.

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