Biodiversity net gain and stacking

Biodiversity net gain and stacking

“Further to our April 2023 article we are taking a closer look at what Defra has published to-date on the topic of stacking”, says Henry Buckpitt of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“The concept of stacking is relatively straight forward and is described in the Defra guidance as when multiple credits or units from different nature markets are sold separately from the same activity on a piece of land. However, the guidance also refers to some schemes where potentially different environmental outcomes are treated as “bundled”. Examples are the UK Woodland Carbon Code and the UK Peatland Code. Where the environmental outputs are bundled, stacking will not be permitted”, explains Buckpitt.

“Defra’s examples of where stacking will currently be permitted include the sale of BNG and nutrient neutrality credits and where land is entered into the Sustainable Farming Incentive and is also used for private sector schemes, such as carbon trading or payments for natural flood management”, continues Buckpitt.

“The principal of additionality is fundamental to the stacking rules. This is both a legal test and an environmental test. An example of the legal test is if a woodland owner has been issued with a re-stocking notice and plants a woodland, the rules will not allow the same woodland to be used to create biodiversity net gain units for onward sale. Environmental additionality will be assessed by undertaking a baseline survey to establish a value for the habitat that has been created or enhanced by participating in a particular environmental scheme or option. It is only the subsequent habitat improvement that is delivered on top of an initial activity and which does not negatively impact on the objective of the original scheme that can be registered and sold”, adds Buckpitt.

For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380

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