BNG: What makes Environment Bank a net gain for farmers?
How farmers can use their natural capital for new diversification projects like biodiversity net gain (BNG), solar or carbon capture is much talked about, but often with very little detail surrounding how these new income streams will work in practice, or how they fit with existing farm enterprises.
We know from our conversations with farmers that there are many questions around how land used for natural capital projects will impact on their core business as food producers, tourism enterprises and other business streams.
We’re very clear on how we approach this at Environment Bank, and importantly, how farmers and landowners can benefit. Firstly, we are not a brokerage. Our core business is BNG and our team of ecologists is setting up Habitat Banks in every local authority area across England right now.
Secondly, Habitat Banks can easily integrate alongside other enterprises. We are not looking to take land used to grow food out of production and you can still produce arable crops whilst taking part in a Habitat Bank creation project. Equally, your Habitat Bank could be grazed or cropped for hay, or sit alongside your tourism enterprise.
We’re already fully funded, meaning that we can typically arrange lease and management payments within 12 weeks of registration, and cover all costs for establishing and managing the Habitat Bank, extending to legal and tax advice where appropriate. We have a ready-made solution, so unlike with a brokerage model, you don’t have to manage the complex implementation process or take any of the risk of the scheme failing - that all sits with us.
Typically, we look to contract the management of the Habitat Bank back to the farmer or landowner, which makes up part of the payments, and this is fully supported by our team of ecologists throughout the full 30 year term of the agreement.
We consider all types of land, including currently unproductive areas, old pasture and scrubland as well as under-performing arable land. This is across the acreage and doesn’t have to be in one block. Primarily we are looking for parcels of land between 10-100 hectares in size - we don’t want to take over whole farms.
This is done on a bespoke basis, there is no ‘one size fits all’. Our experienced team of ecologists will meet on your land for an on-site review to discuss the possibilities with you.
We will work with you to establish habitats that work for you and your land operations, and which fundamentally creates the best outcomes for nature in your location. Payments are guaranteed over a 30 year period, increasing with inflation, up to £27,000 per hectare and could be more depending on the type of habitat creation.
Income will be broken down between a lease payment for the land and a habitat management payment. Payments will be made annually with the first year's upfront. Unlike other schemes, payments will start immediately on signing and we will also pay you a fee to welcome you to Environment Bank.
Register your land and find out what your habitat and income options are here.