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Biodiversity Roadmap for the sector

Posted: 29th February 2024

The Construction Leadership Council’s Green Construction Board has today launched its Biodiversity Roadmap for the sector, detailing how the construction industry will work together to reduce harm to our natural environment. Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life living in the world, and without it, life on earth as we know it would collapse. We rely on biodiversity for our food, weather and water; everything we need to sustain life.

We know that biodiversity around the world is decreasing. It is vital that we all take steps to increase it and restore the ecosystems – or environments – in which biodiversity lives. Construction has historically been a major cause of decreasing biodiversity, and the sector recognises the important role it has to play in addressing the issues behind this loss. The sector is now coming together to take a ‘nature positive’ approach to help reverse the impact of construction on the natural environment.

The roadmap sets out what the industry should prioritise with the ultimate aim to be ‘nature positive’, and align with the targets in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s Framework. It provides context to the key issues, together with targets and short, medium and long-term goals for each of the priority areas.

These goals can be applied to the industry as a whole or to an individual organisation trying to understand what they can do to improve biodiversity and nature within the built environment. It acts as a tool to increase knowledge and understanding in the industry and to drive action in this space. We hope that this will be a call to action to many of the existing groups within our industry to collaborate towards a shared vision for a greener future.

The key themes are:

Firstly, Drivers, Funding and Delivery

Target: Biodiversity loss is halted across the UK by 2030 and ENG in legislation with clear timelines by 2030.

Action: National legislative requirements for halting biodiversity loss are achieved and Environmental Targets for delivering ENG are embedded into policy and practice.

Secondly, Measurement, Management and Monitoring

Target: Sites that are on the BNG register monitor the habitats by 2025.

Action: Encourage BNG baselining and monitoring by scaling up assessment processes and using digital technology.

Thirdly, Upskilling and engagement

Target: Embed training into institutions and industry bodies and deliver industry wide modules by 2028.

Action: Delivering mandatory training for built environment institutions, to increase the number of biodiversity and environmental specialists that understand Environmental Targets, business cases, feasibility and metrics.

The roadmap will provide a platform for industry to drive forward the mandatory changes required on biodiversity in a business as usual approach. It will also work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure it adds value to the existing policy environment. Following the launch the working group will identify key stakeholders including government and industry to own and drive forward the key actions and achieve the targets.

Matt Palmer, Executive Director of the Lower Thames Crossing, and Construction Leadership Council’s Industry Sponsor for Net Zero and Biodiversity said: “You’ll often hear us talk about what we’re doing in the construction industry to reduce our carbon footprint, but you don’t hear us say as much about biodiversity and the impact we are having. Biodiversity is just as important, it is intrinsically linked with carbon reduction, and needs a relentless focus on what we can do as a sector to become nature positive. Today’s roadmap sets out how we will work together in the sector to make a positive impact on biodiversity and our precious natural world. I urge everyone in the construction industry to get involved and make a difference.”

Louise Clarke, Group Head of Sustainability, Berkeley Group and chair of Biodiversity and Environmental Net Gain Group, Green Construction Board. “Today we are pleased to be launching this roadmap to industry to build on the current legislation and set out a pathway for us to halting biodiversity loss. Improving nature’s recovery will help us to adapt to future climate change and the more extreme weather which is expected. For the built environment, more space needs to be provided for adaptation. This includes the need to link more sites through green infrastructure and deliver more services via nature-based solutions to help nature’s recovery. We hope this roadmap will provide a direction of travel for the industry on how we can address the biodiversity crisis and move towards delivering nature positive outcomes.

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