Caffi Ecology: Net Benefits for Biodiversity

The inaugural event in the Welsh Policy Group’s Caffi Ecology event series will bring together academics, policy-makers and consultants to learn about and discuss Net Benefits for Biodiversity.

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

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The Welsh Policy Group (WPG) is launching its Caffi Ecology event series! These events will be networking and knowledge exchange events that bring together people who work on environmental policy to discuss a policy-relevant and timely topic, in a relaxed and informal environment. They are designed to provide an opportunity to get up to speed on an important area of environmental policy making and discuss it with experts.

Time and place

The inaugural event in the WPG’s Caffi Ecology event series will take place between 6pm – 9pm on 2nd March at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff.


This event will focus on Net Benefits for Biodiversity. The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 requires public authorities to ‘maintain and enhance biodiversity’ when conducting their functions, and also seek to ‘promote the resilience of ecosystems’. Planning and development is a key sector that will be affected by these duties, and Wales is pursuing an approach called Net Benefits for Biodiversity (NBB) that developers will have to use to demonstrate biodiversity enhancements.

Five experts speakers will provide insights into NBB in brief talks that will be informative, provocative and entertaining! There will then be an opportunity to discuss a set of questions, which will be circulated beforehand, in breakout groups. The event will operate on Chatham House Rules to keep the debate as lively as possible.


Dr Edward Shepherd MRTPI, MRICS – School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University

Dr Edward Shepherd (MRTPI MRICS) is a researcher and lecturer at the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University and has a professional background in planning and development consultancy. He specialises in the politics of planning and development land markets and has a research interest in biodiversity enhancement via the planning system. He is currently working on a three-year ESRC-funded research project on the political economy of land value capture policy.

Sarah Simons MCIEEM, CEnv – Amey Consulting

Sarah has worked in ecological consultancy for twenty years, primarily in Wales, and is currently the National Ecology Lead for Amey Consulting. She is an experienced team leader and project manager with an interest in botany and nature recovery. Sarah set up and runs a local wildlife group and open community garden which help her enthuse a wide range of people about wildlife.

Dr Emma Gardner – UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Dr Emma Gardner is a quantitative ecologist and modeller based at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. She works with stakeholders to better understand how species use landscapes and to predict how they might be affected by landscape changes, including tree planting, habitat restoration and urbanisation. She works across disciplines to investigate how the needs of biodiversity can be better represented in human decision-making.

Sarah Ayling – Lead Specialist Advisor, Ecosystem Resilience – Natural Resources Wales

Sarah Ayling has worked in the nature conservation sector for over 25 years, and is currently a Lead Specialist with in Natural Resource Wales’ Biodiversity Policy & Strategy Team. She has worked for Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, Local Authorities and wildlife charities in England and Wales, working in partnership with a wide variety of stakeholders to develop nature recovery policies and strategies and translate these into impactful action. She specialises in ecosystem resilience, related concepts and its practical application.

Final speaker is to be confirmed


A summary of talks and discussions will be written up into a report, and outlined in a blogpost, both on the BES website. All contributions will be anonymous due to Chatham House rules.


Registration is free, and includes pie, mash and gravy supplied by the Pie Box Cardiff. Tea, coffee and juice will also be provided. Other alcoholic and soft drinks can be purchased at the licensed bar.

Welsh speakers

Unfortunately, we cannot provide real-time translation at this event. However, if you would like the opportunity to be placed in a Welsh-speaking group for the discussion part of the event, please let us know in your registration, or via email to

Capacity is limited, so if you register and cannot attend, please cancel your place so we can accommodate others.

Register here




Please direct any questions to Nick Harvey Sky, Policy Officer