Biodiversity project in Stratford district is trailblazer say organisers - The Stratford Observer
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19th Aug, 2022

Biodiversity project in Stratford district is trailblazer say organisers

A BIODIVERSITY project in Stratford district has been praised by county leaders.

The site, in Alscot Park in Preston on Stour, is set to be a prime spot for biodiversity net gain (BNG) also known as biodiversity offsetting. Sites such as Alscot Park aim to provide compensation for habitats and species lost to development, and will offer up 30 units for BNG to developers where habitats have been lost to construction sites elsewhere. The 20 hectares of land offered up by the site accounts for around 300 to 400 new houses.

As part of the Environmental Act, legislation came into force in November for a minimum requirement of ten per cent for applicable development types to assist with efforts to reverse biodiversity decline.

Biodiversity assessments are carried out by ecologists who measure the lands value to wildlife – for example, features like species-rich grassland.

In early 2020 in a landmark deal, Alscot Biodiversity Project was one of the first private ventures of its kind in the UK, to work-up a detailed legal agreement with Warwickshire County Council to offer BNG units to developers.

Alscot has been following a strict 30 year biodiversity management plan to secure a future for plant and animal species by the improvement and enhancement of natural grasslands and woodlands, encouraging rare and almost extinct species to thrive.

Jonathan Thompson, who assists Alscot in its biodiversity planning and brokerage of assets, explained: “The 20 hectares of land included within this project is enabling somewhere in the region of 300-400 houses to be built in Warwickshire, allowing economic development in the area without any loss to biodiversity.

“As one of the leading private projects of its type in the country, Alscot has put BNG on the map and it has attracted a phenomenal amount interest, including that of, Rebecca Pow MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Member of Parliament for Kenilworth and Southam, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright, who was among those in attendance at Alscot Park.

“Investing in nature’s recovery is a vital national priority.”

Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi was also among visitors to the site recently.

He said: ‘‘It’s great to see and be introduced to this exciting project today in Stratford upon Avon. We are blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside in the world and it is important that we ensure it is protected whilst simultaneously encouraging the growth needed to improve the day-to-day lives of people in the area.

“It is clear BNG has the potential to deliver sustainable development and housing with the support of local communities.”

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