Environmental management – guidance

Biodiversity offsetting

Guidance and information on biodiversity offsetting for providers and developers of offsetting schemes.

Biodiversity offsets are conservation activities that are designed to give biodiversity benefits to compensate for losses - ensuring that when a development damages nature (and this damage cannot be avoided) new, bigger or better nature sites will be created. They are different from other types of ecological compensation as they need to show measurable outcomes that are sustained over time.

In September 2013 we published a consultation paper which sets out proposals for biodiversity offsetting and how it might be introduced in England.

Guidance for offset providers and developers in the pilot areas

This guide provides advice on biodiversity offsetting for providers and developers of schemes in the pilot areas. It highlights some pilots and projects which are underway. If you wish to choose to use offsetting, as a developer you will either need to provide the offset yourself, or use an offset provider. This guidance is for both developers looking to provide their own offset, and other organisations or individuals that want to provide offsets for developers.

Biodiversity offsetting pilots and schemes

Defra, Natural England and local councils in 6 pilot areas are working together to test the biodiversity offsetting approach:

Guidance for local councils in the pilot areas

Biodiversity offsetting: information and research

Defra information on biodiversity offsetting includes:

Complementary projects

Defra is working with a range of organisations interested in biodiversity offsetting, on complementary projects to help us improve our understanding and develop the evidence base. The information gathered from these projects will feed in to the independent evaluation of the biodiversity offsetting pilot phase. The organisations we are working with are:

  • Atkins
  • Aggregates Industries
  • Balfour Beatty
  • Eco Bos and Code 7 consulting
  • Golder Associates
  • Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
  • The Somerset Biodiversity Partnership
  • Worcestershire County Council

Contact us

If you have any queries related to biodiversity offsetting, please email us at bio.offsets@defra.gsi.gov.uk