Conservatives Propose New System of ‘Conservation Banking’

The Guardian today reports on the Conservatives’ plans for new ‘conservation banks’, from which developers would be asked to buy credits as a condition of being granted permission to build. The Conservatives would use the money generated to lead to the creation of new woodlands, wetlands and wildlife corridors.

Many wildlife groups have greeted the proposals, from shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert, with caution. There is concern that the plans could offer a license to developers to destroy habitats, with the promise of compensatory ecological benefits elsewhere. Groups are also worried that the scheme could mean the end of public funding for nature conservation and a reliance on markets and private investment.

The ‘conservation banks’ could be run by local communities, voluntary groups or companies. In an interview with the Guardian, Nick Herbert said that “the existing bureaucratic, regulatory approach has failed to halt biodiversity loss. We need radical new thinking to reverse the decline. Our natural ecosystems and the services they provide like carbon storage, water storage, habitat for wildlife are worth billions of pounds. We have to find a way to unlock this value”. He stressed that the scheme would not weaken existing protection for endangered species or sites.

Original article: Tories reveal plams for conservation banks, 16 November