Thursday, 19 December 2013

Construction, biodiversity and natural capital: discussing the challenges

Our latest guest blog is from Business Development Manager Dr Joanne Chamberlain on a recent first meeting between CEH and a construction industry group looking to address some of the environmental challenges their sector faces:

Last week, on 10 December, CEH hosted a visit from the UK Constructors Group (UKCG) for Biodiversity. UKCG is the primary trade association for contractors operating in the UK, and represents more than 30 leading contractors operating in the UK on construction specific issues. Between them, UKCG members account for £33 billion of construction turnover, a third of UK construction total output involving projects building hospitals, schools, offices and housing, as well as large infrastructure projects. UKCG has an Environment working group with an expert task force on Biodiversity, whose aim is to represent the views of contractors within government, promote best practice, and mitigate regulatory and legislative risk.

The UKCG for Biodiversity met with scientists at CEH to open up a discussion and assess the potential for collaboration around topics that included natural capital, ecological survey data and biodiversity offsetting. The construction industry has a number of challenges in these areas, and the group are keen to work with CEH in solving some of these problems. The UKCG aims to ensure a net gain in biodiversity in the work they undertake and enhance connectivity between developments and the wider landscape.

The construction industry has challenges in areas such as natural capital,  ecological
survey data and biodiversity offsetting.
It was interesting to note that UKCG members often find themselves in a position of having to try to influence, engage and educate their clients on how to incorporate biodiversity into a development. This inevitably results in a number of challenges and compromises, but a desire to have a consistent approach across the industry and demonstrate the merits of conserving and enhancing natural capital within a development is driving the group.

Dr Joanne Chamberlain

Additional information

CEH website: Biodiversity offsetting - relevant research

CEH blog: Biodiversity offsetting - the science behind the policy

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