Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment

West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council are currently preparing Local Plans and as part of that process, a number of proposed development sites have been identified.  To be able to make decisions about where development is best located, councils require information about the potential impacts of developing these sites.

West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council have asked TVERC to assess each of the sites in its emerging Local Plan using a biodiversity metric, to establish the net number of biodiversity units for each and to assign an outline cost for delivering a measurable net gain for biodiversity in West Berkshire and Wokingham.

This project has been completed successfully.  An assessment of 276 Local Plan in West Berkshire sites found pre-development biodiversity units between 5,599 and 16,797 and post-development units between 3,219 and 9,658, meaning a net loss of between 2,379 and 13,577 units.  Based on DEFRA biodiversity unit prices of between £9,000 and £15,000 units, the estimated cost of offsetting these units is between £21.4 million and £203.6 million

In Wokingham, TVERC calculated the minimum and maximum number of biodiversity units for 311 Local Plan. There are over 2,500 hectares of habitat on these sites, generating between 6,444 and 19,332 biodiversity units.  Based on per-unit costs published by DEFRA in the biodiversity net gain consultation document, these would be worth between £59 million and £290 million.