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ON WHY BIODIVERSITY ENHANCEMENT AND BIODIVERSITY NET GAIN AMOUNT TO THE SAME THING.

The re-emergence of the Environment Bill has heralded some considerable debate about the proposed statutory enshrinement of the concept of biodiversity net gain.   There have been arguments about whether this a good thing or a bad thing.   Arguably, those debates are slightly academic because the reality of the situation is that biodiversity net gain is already with us. In terms of statute we have section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.   Section 40(1) provides as follows: “(1) [A] public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity.” A “public authority” includes a Minister of the Crown, a public body, a government department, a local authority and a local planning authority: Section 40(4). Section 40(3) then provides an extended definition of “conserving”: “(3) Conserving biodiversity includes, in relation to a liv