This time the topic is: “Network Rail Infrastructure Projects’ application of the mitigation hierarchy”. Uk’s Network Rail Infrastructure Project presents the progress on its Net Positive commitment.
As usual the webinar is part of the BBOP community of practice (all previous webinars are archived there if you want to listen to them later).
When and how does the BBOP webinar take place?
(3:00pm UK; 10:00 am EDT)
Some information on the BBOP webinar
Network Rail Infrastructure Projects (IP) has committed to achieving a “measurable net positive contribution towards biodiversity in the UK”. It is using the mitigation hierarchy to prioritise avoiding and minimising impacts on biodiversity, and then restoring and rehabilitating impacts on-site before finally compensating for any unavoidable impacts.
Infrastructure projects often mean vegetation on railway embankments must be removed. Native species are the priority for re-planting plans, however re-planting large species, especially trees, is restricted to ensure safe railway operations. As a result, restoring lost habitat and delivering ‘Net Positive’ benefits for biodiversity on railway land itself is not always possible, even with the mitigation hierarchy and compliance with laws protecting wildlife. In these situations, and only as a last resort, biodiversity offsetting is considered.
Biodiversity offsetting is controversial in some settings: people suspect it of being an easy way for developers to buy their way out of conservation requirements. Yet, if offsetting is necessary, it can ensure that actions to compensate for unavoidable habitat loss strategically benefit local and national conservation priorities. Also, offsetting requires measurable conservation outcomes compared with all biodiversity losses from a project. So it is not just focused on species specifically named in wildlife laws and planning regulations, but takes a more holistic approach by encompassing species not covered by legal and planning systems.
Network Rail IP’s approach to Net Positive is based on good practice principles of biodiversity offsetting because these provide a robust and challenging framework to achieve development with net positive outcomes for nature conservation. In this webinar, Network Rail IP describes its approach and progress to date with its country-wide Net Positive pilots, and discusses its lessons learnt to date and plans for Net Positive to become business-as-usual by March 2019.