Humanist Climate Action has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on new Biodiversity Net Gain regulations. In its response, it has welcomed the plans, but called on the Government to close various loopholes in them.
Last year, the Environment Act 2021 introduced a requirement that all new developments, which go through the planning approval process, must deliver a minimum level of improvement to the biodiversity of the site. This means that developers must in most cases take active measures to ensure that their planned development not only protects existing wildlife, but enhances the natural environment of the site as well.
Humanist Climate Action has welcomed these regulations, which have positive potential for protecting and enhancing the UK’s declining biodiversity. But it has warned that without closing proposed loopholes these regulations carry the danger of ‘greenwashing’, where developers continue to build on land without taking meaningful steps to compensate for any damage caused to the local environment. These measures include:
- Introducing measures to guard against ‘site trashing’, where developers deliberately lower the ecological value of a site prior to applying for planning permission, so that they don’t have to provide much in the way of biodiversity net gain;
- Preventing developers from selling on any biodiversity gains that exceed what was required for their site and thereby creating a market in biodiversity gain units which may never be actually delivered;
- Stopping Biodiversity Net Gains from being used to offset the loss of ‘irreplaceable habitats’.
- Ensuring that major public infrastructure projects are subject to the same requirements as private developments.
Humanist Climate Action Coordinator Lori Marriott commented,
‘The UK, like the rest of the world, faces a biodiversity crisis which is just as urgent as the climate crisis, as habitats are destroyed and species are lost. We will continue to contribute to the work to protect the natural world and its ecosystems, in all their complexity and beauty, and will encourage humanists to share in this work.’
For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.
Humanist Climate Action
Humanist Climate Action is made up of humanists committed to redefining lifestyles, choices, and priorities for low-carbon, ethical, and sustainable living in the light of the degeneration of the Earth’s climate and biodiversity. We aim to bring humanists together to facilitate individual and collective actions on these issues.
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.