Gloucestershire Nature and Climate Fund
The Gloucestershire Nature and Climate Fund website is here: https://glosncf.com/
Achieving an overall net gain for biodiversity is to become mandatory for most planning applications by November 2023. A minimum of 10% Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) will be required and this will frequently be challenging to deliver on site. In these circumstances the option of delivering new or improved habitat (and other environmental measures) off-site comes into play.
Following a meeting in November 2020, the Local Authority Biodiversity and Planning group, chaired by Gary Kennison, County Ecologist, made a recommendation to the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership Board (presented in Jan 2021) proposing:
"Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership should facilitate a local option for developers (to buy biodiversity net gain credits). This would potentially provide better delivery of biodiversity (and other environmental) enhancement in Gloucestershire in line with strategic objectives."
Partner Gfirst LEP is hosting the set up phase of Gloucestershire Nature and Climate Fund (GNCF). The first phase is focused on becoming Gloucestershire's own non-profit broker for biodiversity net gain credits for developers. In later phases we will look at the scope for GNCF to work in other natural capital markets, and to use the surplus funds generated towards nature recovery and climate change projects in Gloucestershire.
Leveraging private money to deliver environmental objectives is key to delivering on a number of environmental priorities for partners, including tree planting, nature recovery and natural flood management. Many actors, from individual members of the public to large multinational corporations, wish for a variety of reasons to pay others to sequester carbon, usually through planting trees (although a project is underway to establish a carbon code for soils, whereby farmers could get paid for more soil-friendly farming practices).
This is an exciting time for Gloucestershire's nature, but haste is needed to ensure we are able to act at scale to mitigate the ecological and climate emergencies that threaten the resilience of our natural environment, society and economy.