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Does Biodiversity Net Gain help to address climate change, or make it worse?

About this event

Across the UK, governments, businesses and organisations have declared a joint climate and biodiversity crisis. But while there are calls to address this crisis, all too often climate and biodiversity work is undertaken in silo. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is an example of this. The concept of BNG emerged to address the loss of biodiversity from economic development. The “net” in BNG means that, overall, gains outweigh losses, and the biodiversity metric developed by Natural England uses habitats as a proxy indicator to quantify these losses and gains. This metric means that BNG is a habitat-based approach and achieved by retaining, enhancing and creating habitats. So with BNG, there is a change in the type, coverage and maturity of habitats from before to after a development. In turn this affects rates of carbon sequestration. But, while progress is being made to improve the biodiversity metric, the impact of BNG on carbon sequestration rates of habitats (and so the impact of BNG on climate change) is rarely, if ever, measured.

In this Sustainability Delivery Group Expert Talk, Mott MacDonald will present change in carbon sequestration rates that result from BNG designs for infrastructure development to answer the fundamental question: did BNG increase carbon sequestration rates and, by doing so, help to address climate change, or did BNG decrease carbon sequestration and make climate change worse?

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  • Guest speaker
    Julia Baker Technical Director of Nature Services @ Mott MacDonald

    Dr Julia Baker is Technical Director of Nature Services at Mott MacDonald. Julia has designed and delivered Biodiversity Net Gain on a variety of infrastructure developments including transport, housing and energy. Julia is the lead author of the UK’s Good Practice Principles on Biodiversity Net Gain and runs CIEEM’s professional training courses on BNG. Julia is also a Visiting Researcher at the University of Oxford and Chair of the Biodiversity Group by the British Standard Institute.

  • Guest speaker
    Timothy Kelly Mott MacDonald

    Tim is a chartered environmentalist with seven years’ experience consisting of natural capital accounting and ecosystem service assessment, environmental management, and environmental impact assessment. Tim has worked with the public sector, including the UK Government, to develop bespoke methods for monitoring and assessing ecosystem services, as well as the private sector, on large-scale infrastructure projects, to promote a natural capital approach for delivering sustainable design. Tim is experienced at identifying environmental constraints and fostering collaboration to create opportunities and find project solutions.

  • Guest speaker
    Ruby Plackett Environmental Scientist @ Mott MacDonald

    Ruby has 3 years experience in natural capital & ecosystem services, and has proven technical knowledge in leading and undertaking natural capital & ecosystem services projects, both nationally and internationally and is experienced in using modelling tools to quantify changes to ecosystem services. Ruby has worked on natural capital projects in the Middle-East and South-East Asia and has been involved with the UK’s water sector regional planning, creating methodology and undertaking a natural capital approach in order to help the emerging plan’s tackle the environmental emergency facing the region’s waters.

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