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Innovative biodiversity credit market launched in South Downs National Park

South Downs National Park has launched the UK's first voluntary biodiversity credit scheme, marking a significant step towards nature recovery through private investments. The initiative, introduced in partnership with nature tech company Earthly, aims to engage businesses across the country in supporting landowners with sustainable practices. The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) interim chief executive, Tim Slaney, emphasised the scheme's potential to boost the park’s biodiversity.

Innovative biodiversity credit market launched in South Downs National Park_Landscape view of South Downs National Park_visual 1Landscape view of South Downs National Park. AI generated picture. 

Around 500 hectares in Hampshire and Sussex have been earmarked for biodiversity restoration, funded through the new credit scheme. Businesses are increasingly eager to showcase environmental integrity and meet national targets, according to Slaney. He believes voluntary biodiversity credits can facilitate this, helping companies invest in the planet for future generations.

Read more: Ugly species need biodiversity protection too

The 2023 State of Nature Report highlights the UK's significant biodiversity challenges, noting a 19% decline in monitored species over the past 50 years. To combat these threats, the report calls for increased investments and a shift towards nature-friendly farming. Slaney sees the voluntary credit scheme as a harmonious solution for both the corporate and land sectors.

Developed under the park's ReNature campaign, the scheme aims to create 13,000 hectares of new habitat, promoting a thriving ecosystem. This follows the mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) policy, which requires development projects in England to achieve a minimum 10% net biodiversity improvement.

Read more: UK implements mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain framework

The Iford Estate farm within the park has already confirmed sales for most of its 211 BNG units, spanning 32 hectares of grass and scrubland. ReNature's goal is for 33% of the national park to be managed solely for nature by 2030, with the remaining 67% maintained as nature-friendly areas.

A World Economic Forum report projects that biodiversity credits could generate up to $180 billion annually by 2050 with a significant shift in valuing nature. Since its launch, the ReNature campaign has supported the creation of over 400 hectares of new wildlife habitat and improved the condition of 4,312 hectares of existing habitat in the South Downs National Park.

As BNG transforms planning policies, developers are advised to work with seasoned ecological consultants to meet these new standards and create successful biodiversity net-gain strategies. In the face of increasing biodiversity challenges, organisations such as DGB Group play a crucial role in fostering a future enhanced by nature's wonders. Our commitment to crafting and executing top-tier nature-based solutions paves the way for a sustainable and biodiverse planet.

Partner with DGB and discover the true power of nature

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