The potential contribution of revenue from Biodiversity Net Gain offsets towards nature recovery ambitions in Oxfordshire

There is a major funding gap for delivering the UK’s nature recovery ambitions, including meeting the national and international ‘30×30’ target (30% of land protected and managed for nature by 2030). This work aimed to investigate the potential revenue that could be generated over the next ten years through purchase of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) offsets by developers in Oxfordshire, and the extent to which this could contribute to the estimated costs of nature recovery.

We compare potential BNG revenue with the costs of creating sufficient areas of semi-natural habitats in strategic locations (e.g. within Oxfordshire’s Nature Recovery Network) to meet the 30×30 target, and maintaining those habitats for 30 years. These costs are estimated at £800 million, but this excludes the costs of protecting and monitoring the sites, and any additional costs for organisations that wish to purchase land or compensate landowners for lost opportunity costs. Also, these are not the full costs of nature recovery in its broadest sense, as they do not take account of the cost of restoring species populations to sustainable levels. In particular, this analysis does not consider the cost of recovering any species and habitats lost as a result of the development that gives rise to the BNG revenue, i.e. it is assumed that the compensatory habitats created through BNG will successfully replace those lost and will prevent any loss of associated species. The estimates are simply intended to help organisations involved in nature recovery to understand the potential size of the BNG market, to inform future investment plans.