CORDIS - EU research results

An innovative business model, systems and services for market-based habitat banking in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HB-BROKER (An innovative business model, systems and services for market-based habitat banking in Europe)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2015-12-31

The objective of our overall project is to boost growth potential and internationalisation of our innovation for Habitat Banking. Over 100,000 ha of green land are developed each year in the EU, with significant harm to Europe’s nature, GDP and wellbeing. Governments increasingly require ‘no net loss’ of nature. Habitat banks (HBs) offer a cost-effective way to deliver this. Our Phase 1 feasibility study aimed to fill key gaps in our feasibility assessment.
In England, we studied legal basis for HBs, market demand, land supply, costs of HB delivery, administrative costs and IP protection. We confirmed, through legal opinion, that HBs can be secured through existing planning ‘obligations’ or ‘conditions’. In each of 7 of 8 study areas, we found sufficient demand and supply to establish and sell out a 40 ha HB over 5 years. We determined a credit price attractive to both landowners and developers, and a model delivering zero net administrative costs for authorities. Finally, we determined means to protect our IP.

For another selected EU country, we assessed demand and supply for a selected region and the extent to which legislation supports HBs. We found that recent legislation establishes a clear requirement for compensation for impacts on nature and clear provision for development of HBs. We established demand, in our selected region, of at last 2000 ha p.a. and identified initial supply of over 12500 ha. HB costs per ha were found to be well below that for conventional, developer-led compensation; HBs offer developers savings while offering attractive income to landowners. We strengthened relations with a key business partner and key users including central and regional governments, landowner and developer associations.
With the Phase 1 project, we made significant progress in completing the feasibility assessment for our innovation in England and one other EU country. In particular, we built better understanding of the legal framework, demand for and supply of HB, HB costings and IPR issues, and built better partner/user relations and company visibility.

Our innovation offers substantial benefits for developers (cost savings, discharge of liability, etc.), landowners (new income stream), planning authorities (reduce admin costs, etc) and EU and national governments (better restoration of nature, new jobs and growth).
Nature-rich 'dehesa', SPAIN
Nature-rich grasslands, ENGLAND