Northstowe Phase 2 is a large Homes and Community Agency (HCA) scheme set across a 216 ha site in Cambridgeshire, UK. The engineering and design consulting firm Arup is carrying out much of the EIA and design advice work for the project and most of the technical offsetting work is being handled by leading consultancy Environment Bank.
Studies have confirmed the presence of a number of notable farmland bird species on site and determined there would be significant adverse residual impact to these species and their habitats that could not be mitigated on site. Discussions were held with the local authority ecologist and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to agree the need for offsets and the approach to be taken. A biodiversity impact assessment of the site was conducted using the Defra metric to determine the on-site net loss and to quantify the overall offset requirement for farmland birds and biodiversity.
In 2016 work began on initial options for compensation land identification and delivery processes, culminating in the purchase of 61 ha of land within 5 and 7km of the development. The design of farmland bird compensation package and agreement of management prescriptions with the future tenants has been underway this year, with management set to begin this autumn.
Louise Martland, Environment Bank and Neil Harwood, Arup will present the biodiversity impact assessment and how required compensation was determined, how a delivery model was decided upon and considerations for land identification and management targets, together with what the final package will look like and next steps for the development.