The UK's departure from the EU, net zero carbon targets and the recent Environment Act have combined to transform our approach to nature and habitat creation. The opportunity now exists to develop and deliver new conservation projects that can both enhance biodiversity, capture and store CO2 and reduce nutrients.
BioCap is working with partners to create a regional, trusted and well-managed marketplace for Natural Capital. This marketplace will ensure that Biodiversity Gain, carbon and nutrient offsetting and other Natural Solutions are managed to enhance the environment of, initially, West Berkshire and then beyond.
BioCap’s mission is to ensure that landowners have the opportunity to create new wildlife habitats across West Berkshire and that this work is supported by the planning system and those seeking to purchase Natural Capital.
We have set up a regional Naturals Solutions Partnership which includes all the major stakeholders; West Berkshire Council, Landowners, BBOWT, TVERC, TOE, Natural England, Wessex Downs AONB, ARK. The partnership is working on pilot projects to define the processes and mechanisms needed to meet the requirements of the Environment Act and is compliant with other relevant legislation.
At the core of this process will be a data driven spatial plan and framework that will help guide what to do where across the farmed countryside, providing a landscape-level series of locations and habitats where nature-based solutions can be delivered.
Who can help?
LAND OWNERS + MANAGERS
The UK's new Environmental Act, Carbon and Nutrient offsetting and the forthcoming Environmental Land Management scheme has made it more financially viable for landowners to develop habitat creation projects and be reimbursed and rewarded for their efforts.
BioCap and its partners are working to provide the advice and guidance needed to develop these projects, comply with legislation and access the funding needed for implementation.
CONSERVATION & GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
BioCap believes in partnership and collaboration but at the same time is seeking real outcomes that are deliverable in a time frame commensurate with dealing with a climate and Biodiversity crisis!
BioCap is partnering with regional agencies to develop a replicable model that will be transferable to other areas. West Berkshire is our pilot area.
BioCap wants to develop an open data model that avoids duplication and provides clear open information. The Saptial Plan and associated systems aim to provide the means by which all involved can be accountable for the end results achieved. Across the UK, anyone will be able to act locally and have a global impact.
BUSINESSES + DEVELOPERS
Developers working in West Berkshire will need to fund Biodiversity Net Gain. The DEFRA metric 3.1 is used to calculate the biodiversity value of habitat destruction/creation. The legislation allows for "in development area" habitat creation and net gain or the, potentially much more valuable option of purchasing biodiversity gain from dedicated wildlife projects can be used.
BioCap will facilitate the provision of biodiversity units and give developers access to regional projects of high conservation and biodiversity value. Biodiversity units will be able to be purchased through a trusted regional system delivered by charitable organisations and overseen by conservation agencies and Local Government.
As we grow, our projects will be able to offset the carbon emissions from businesses and organizations. We hope to forge links with businesses that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and reversing the negative impact of their daily activity.
BioCap partner businesses will have the option to join the local carbon marketplace and engage their employees and customers in meaningful local activity that will enhance our environment.
We are developing a carbon marketplace which will allow individuals to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits. The funds raised through the marketplace will be allocated to local wildlife habitat creation projects that will restore the natural biodiversity of the countryside.
The average resident of West Berkshire emits 5.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum, and we hope to create enough carbon capture projects within the county to become carbon neutral.