Giving Land and Nature a Lift

Posted on 25 April 2024

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Client: Private Landowner

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Site: South Somerset

With BNG now being mandatory, there are huge opportunities for landowners to deliver gains for nature across a range of different habitats and develop new income at the same time. But, as with any new market, taking those first steps can be challenging.

Aims and Objectives

With BNG now being mandatory, there are huge opportunities for landowners to deliver gains for nature across a range of different habitats and develop new income at the same time. But as with any new market, taking first steps can be challenging – and this is particularly the case with BNG metrics as there are so many variables. Getting the initial baseline survey correct - from where any uplift is calculated – is critical, and this can be particularly challenging when dealing with a large landholding comprising a range of different type and quality of habitats.

In order to maximise the BNG unit value of his land, SWTC’s client needed to capture baseline survey data on a selection of land holdings totalling approximately 76ha which included lower distinctiveness habitats such as cropland and modified grassland; as well as higher distinctiveness habitats such as woodland, ponds and reedbed.

Approach and Outcomes

Our calculations have shown that habitat unit uplifts of between +62.00 to +159.00 could be available at each of the landowner’s land parcels, averaging at over 6.5 units delivered per ha. This will be achieved through conversion of low distinctiveness habitats such as cropland and modified grassland, to higher distinctiveness habitats like other neutral grassland, woodland, scrub and reedbed. Hedgerow units have not been targeted at this stage in the project but will likely be targeted as the project develops and the landowner begins to discuss sales with interested developers.

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