Westminster Forum - Biodiversity and species protection - net gain, governance and local approaches

Date: 21st November 2019

Location: Central London

This seminar will discuss the next steps for promoting and protecting biodiversity across England - with discussion expected on the impact of potential changes emerging from the Agriculture and Environment bills including the introduction of public goods and the evolving regulatory system.

This conference takes place against the backdrop of the UK Government committing to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and following the publication of the Environment Bill summer policy statement - with the full Bill due to be published early in the next Parliamentary session.

Delegates will discuss the impact and workability of proposed changes - including the introduction of conservation covenants, and steps to improve the management of water - on biodiversity and species protection, and what more needs to be done on a local and national level to support biodiversity.

With the summer policy statement also committing to setting up an Office of Environmental Protection, delegates will also assess the evolving regulatory landscape and what this means for enforcement post-Brexit.

Further sessions will also examine the impact of changes proposed in the Agriculture Bill - including moves towards a system of payment for ‘public goods’ in areas such as soil, water and air quality and public access to the countryside on the protection and promotion of biodiversity.

With the summer policy statement also setting out plans to introduce a mandatory approach to biodiversity net gain - which will require developers to ensure a 10% increase in habitat value for wildlife compared with the pre-development baseline - attendees will assess what this means in practice for stakeholders, and what more needs to be done to address exemptions across nationally significant infrastructure projects and marine development, which remain out of scope of the Bill.

Further sessions will provide an opportunity to assess the impact of the new statutory requirement for the development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies - aimed at setting out local priorities and identifying opportunities for the local environment to be improved - and how best to monitor biodiversity gain or loss at a local level and effectively allocate resources.

Tony Juniper

Chair, Natural England

Speakers

Begonia Filgueira

Legal Director, Foot Anstey and Co-Chair, Brexit Task Force, United Kingdom Environmental Law Association

Professor Selena Gray

Chair, West of England Nature Partnership and Capacity Lead, CLAHRC West

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