Landowners with available land can now quickly and easily find developers who need land to site natural capital elements thanks to an innovative new ‘matchmaking’ scheme.
‘The Green Offset’ – developed by Fisher German – links up parties looking to find land for any environmental requirements with landowners who have land available to facilitate this.
Offset Seekers – firms or individuals looking for land - will be able to search for suitable sites using The Green Offset website, and will be able to contact landowners or their agents once a match is made.
Landowners, referred to as Offset Providers, can easily register their land on the website, which will show that they are open to discussion and negotiation around siting of environmental schemes on their land.
The platform has been created to help develop the market for natural capital schemes which are being driven by the proposals in the Environment Bill. The Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, is expected to require new development to not just avoid a loss of biodiversity, but to actually deliver a net increase in biodiversity, placing additional environmental requirements on developers.
If the Bill passes, developers will be expected to provide a 10 per cent ‘biodiversity net gain’ in their plans – this may involve them having to find alternative sites for offsetting the environmental loss which has been caused by the development. Although the Bill has not yet gained parliamentary approval, several local authorities and developers are already applying the principal of biodiversity net gain to planning decisions.
For landowners, the provision of land for biodiversity offsetting and other natural capital schemes offers potential for new income into farms and estates. With recent changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), provision of offsetting could help to bolster income, and the Green Offset provides a simple means of attracting interest.
Senior Surveyor, Alex Watts, said: “Developers are often required in planning permissions to address environmental harm their projects might cause. And with the Environment Bill being debated in Parliament, these requirements look set to become even greater. The Green Offset makes it easier for Offset Seekers with environmental obligations to identify land where they can site natural capital schemes. It offers a simple way to search for suitable areas quickly and efficiently, and gives them access to a wide array of landowners in a variety of locations.
“For Offset Providers interested in diversifying their incomes and exploring new opportunities in emerging environmental markets, the platform provides a simple tool to market their land without committing them to anything up front. By bringing two willing parties together it is hoped that the Green Offset will speed up the process enabling the negotiation of mutually beneficial agreements. It also gives them an easy way to market their land to multiple parties at once and select the types of environmental scheme they would be prepared to see delivered on their land, so developers know at a glance whether the land is suitable for their needs. Whether Offset Seekers need to plant new trees, move wildlife habitats or sequester carbon, the Green Offset will massively speed up the whole process for them and landowners.”
Head of Rural, David Merton, added: “The Green Offset is a really useful platform for offset providers to offer land to seekers, whether by lease or sale, or alternatively negotiated between those parties. The platform and its simplicity allows for a much easier and expedient way of introducing two parties from anywhere in the country to discuss the land available in this unique marketplace”.
For more information, watch the video here or get in touch with Alex.