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Minister: 'Biodiversity offsetting better in the long run'

The Environment Secretary said he would prefer "biodiversity offsetting" to be compulsory. Owen Paterson added that he wanted to create a market in which land would be identified by wildlife groups for improvement and developers would pay for the work.

In the longer term, the more you can move towards a mandatory [system] the more you get a market. You do want people to come forward with offsettable sites, that’s the key thing.

I think it was 10,000 mature trees [lost in the construction of the M6 toll road around Birmingham] and they planted a million young ones.

Now people will say that’s no good for our generation but over the long term That is a practical example of a high amount of planting following a tragic loss of some wonderful trees.

The point about offsetting is it will deliver a better environment over the long term.

– Environment Secretary Owen Paterson

Minister: 'Permission to destroy ancient woodland'

Permission to destroy ancient woodland could be granted to developers who agree to plant 100 trees for each one felled, the Environment Secretary has said.

Such “biodiversity offsetting” could be applied to woodland that is as much as 400 years old, Owen Paterson said in the Times (£).

Ancient woodland could come under threat. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The scheme allows for the destruction of a wildlife habitat is balanced where funds are provided for environmental improvements at other sites.