The third Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value workshop was held on 17th and 18th December 2013, with members sharing insights from their fieldwork. For example, Louise Carver, pictured here, astonished the room with details of the pilot phase of the UK government’s biodiversity offsetting initiative. She spoke of the confusion and complexity of the process and of how local government officials were trying to make sense of how the new policy would relate to prior planning law and in particular, the protection of rare species legislation. Many aspects of biodiversity offsetting policy remain to be fixed, including over how proximate an offset site need be to the site that will be developed. The answer more recently given by the Environment Secretary, Mr Paterson, and reported by the BBC, as ‘about an hour away by car’ strikes us as warranting a more scientific rationale. The LCSV can announce, however, that Professor Sian Sullivan, with co-author Dr Mike Hannis, has contributed to both the recent public consultation on DEFRA’s Biodiversity Offsetting Green Paper and the preceding inquiry into biodiversity offsetting by the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee. Based on her current and previous research she has sought with these interventions to highlight some of the problematic ecological assumptions on which biodiversity offsetting is based, as well as the value incommensurabilities contributing to struggles over offsetting as a new biodiversity conservation technology.
(Photo: Jonas A. Bruun)