Natural capital

Providing ecosystem services – such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration and nitrate offsetting – is becoming a key way for farmers and landowners to generate income.

The term ‘natural capital’ may have been coined relatively recently, but it’s an area CLM has been involved in for many years.

Our team includes environment experts and ecologists who have spent decades working with farm habitats and stewardship agreements, perfectly positioning us to help you identify and implement opportunities.

Our experience is based on integrating natural capital projects within thriving farm and estate businesses.

We have a proven track record at individual farm level, as well as with ‘cluster groups’ and landscape-scale habitat schemes.

CLM was selected to support one of Natural England’s nine pilot projects to help establish the framework for one of the most exciting natural capital opportunities, biodiversity net gain (BNG).

The Environment Bill requires almost all developments and infrastructure projects to provide at least a 10% net gain in biodiversity, either at the location of a project or ‘off-site’. Developers are seeking deals with farmers and landowners to provide the ‘gain’ by agreeing to turn their farmland into carefully managed biodiverse habitat ‘banks’.

We can help with:

Establishing your baseline

Correctly calculating the baseline – ie understanding the existing habitats (and other natural assets) on site – is vital as your starting point. We combine information in the public domain with our in-house data, local knowledge and familiarity with individual areas of land. We then ‘ground-truth’ this with habitat surveys. We’re well versed in the ‘UKHab’ methodology and Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 3.0, both of which are integral to BNG projects.

Modelling habitat creation

We’ll run through all the options with you and propose implementation and management plans which maximise the return, but are realistic and achievable. Schemes also need to dovetail with your broader agricultural and land use ambitions, as well as your personal objectives.

Calculating credit generation

Our experts will model various scenarios, showing how many units (sometimes referred to as ‘credits’) different projects will deliver. We’ll consider this in the context of opportunity costs and answer questions such as: What impact will this have on my tax bills and exemptions, now and in the future?

Introductions, negotiations and contracts

With a close handle on the market for BNG units/credits and other ecosystem services, we can advise where the best deals are to be had, negotiate on your behalf and check all the small print. Through our connections with developers and infrastructure companies, we can also act as a go-between, facilitating arrangements. Our decades-long experience of habitat management and assessment also allows us to help developers understand their sites from a biodiversity perspective.

Delivery

We have decades of experience of creating and managing habitats at scale. We can implement and manage BNG and other natural capital projects. Whether it’s devising grazing schemes, selecting grass sward seeds or managing fencing contractors, we make sure the vision is successfully delivered.

 

“CLM is a great sounding board. Whether I’m making infrastructure decisions, considering commercial projects or submitting a tender to rent land, I know I’ll get objective, constructive and helpful advice, even if it’s not necessarily what I want to hear. They really speak my language. From the day-to-day items like valuations to more strategic ones like rights or way and big diversification projects, they’re one of my first ports of call.”  

Rob Wilkins


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