Defra report: Lessons learned from biodiversity offsetting markets

This study (Duke and ten Kate 2014, published in 2016) was commissioned by Defra to assist with the development of policy on biodiversity offsetting, in particular to support more detailed economic appraisal of the policy options identified in the 2013 Green Paper on Biodiversity Offsetting in England.

In particular, Defra wishes to understand costs and benefits to developers arising from various policy options. A uniform (i.e. mandatory) approach was advocated by the private sector Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF 2013), which suggested this would enable the development of a large, liquid market, optimizing both benefits to business and outcomes for nature (Duke et al. 2013). Government, however, expressed in the Green Paper a preference to take a voluntary approach, citing insufficient evidence to demonstrate, with sufficient confidence, that mandatory offsetting would not increase regulatory burden on business in general and on house builders in particular (a key government commitment). This report sought to address the evidence gap by reviewing established offsetting markets in the US and Australia. The terms of reference requested the authors to explore: (1) the range and extent of costs and benefits to developers arising from offsetting regimes, (2) the effects of market design on offset prices, and, to a lesser extent, (3) conservation outcomes of offsetting, and (4) broader economic outcomes of offsetting.

Some of the conclusions of the report include:

-Report: Lessons learned from Biodiversity Offsetting Markets
-Paper: 2013 Green Paper on Biodiversity Offsetting in England

Tags: Ecosystem valuation | Biodiversity policy

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