Biodiversity Net Gain
Biodiversity net gain is an approach to development and land management that leaves biodiversity in a measurably better state than before, after first avoiding and minimising harm.
To measure biodiversity net gains and assess the impacts of planning applications, we use biodiversity metrics. Our guidance document on how biodiversity metrics should be applied to your development is available from the Countryside Team and below.
We aim to ensure that all developments achieve a net gain of biodiversity however, sometimes it is not always possible to avoid a causing a net loss. Where residual losses of biodiversity are unavoidable, developers can pay to create habitat of equal or greater value to wildlife. This is called biodiversity offsetting and is a key mechanism to deliver biodiversity net gain.
Biodiversity offsetting is a form of compensation, the final step in the mitigation hierarchy. Developers must be able to demonstrate that impacts on ecology and biodiversity could not reasonably be avoided or mitigated before biodiversity offsetting will be considered.
Biodiversity offsetting may not be suitable in all instances, particularly when proposals impact designated sites, irreplaceable habitats or priority habitats. Biodiversity offsetting is provided at the discretion of the Countryside Team, following a comprehensive review of the proposed development.
Where biodiversity offsetting is required there are a number of offsetting providers who are able to deliver the required biodiversity offsetting agreements, including the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment and Environment Bank.