Natural England discussed offsetting metric for irreplaceable habitats

Natural England says it has no plans to bring forward an offsetting metric for irreplaceable habitats, after its latest board meeting minutes revealed that the idea was considered by a committee responsible for giving advice to the regulator’s board.

The minutes say the regulator’s Science Advisory Committee looked at “the merits of, and possible approach to… compensatory biodiversity metric for habitats within designated protected sites [deemed] ‘irreplaceable’ habitats”.

Natural England said in a statement to ENDS that it considered a metric in response to a line in the National Planning Policy Framework stating that “development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional circumstances and a suitable compensation strategy exists”.

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