East West Rail’s Approach to Biodiversity Net Positive

Thursday, 23rd March 2017 - 13:00

Join the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme for a webinar!

Register HERE

East West Rail Phase Two is achieving ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’ in England by partnering with local stakeholders to support their priorities for nature conservation. The team will present their stakeholder engagement process, the business benefits from this inclusive approach, and their lessons learnt. 

East West Rail is to establish a strategic railway connection across mid, west and south England. Its Phase Two (EWR2) committed to “delivering a measurable net biodiversity gain and positively contributing to the conservation of nature in the region”, and to using the mitigation hierarchy to achieve this. To install and then operate the new infrastructure of EWR2, vegetation must be removed although re-planting habitats on railway land is restricted because of operational and safety issues. This has meant that delivering Net Positive on-site is not possible and, as a last resort, biodiversity offsetting is being considered. 

EWR2 engaged with local government, wildlife groups and landowners during its Environmental Impact Assessment, before impacts on biodiversity were fully known. Its aims were for these stakeholders to have a say in decisions on Net Positive and for investment in Net Positive to support their priorities for nature conservation. In this webinar, the team will describe their engagement process with stakeholders, how they managed stakeholder input into decision-making and the business benefits from this approach. They will also present their ‘lessons learnt’ from a major infrastructure project that supports nature conservation work undertaken by local organisations. 

Please join us for this presentation by Lucie Anderton – Head of Sustainability and Environment, The East West Rail Alliance and Julia Baker – Biodiversity Technical Specialist, Balfour Beatty.

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Joint BES and BESS Symposium: Advances in Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services

Monday, 24th April 2017 to Wednesday, 26th April 2017

Venue: Water Institute, University of Cardiff, Wales

There is an urgent need to understand how natural stocks are linked to flows of ecosystem services and how these linkages are likely to change in the future, given the environmental challenges of an increasing population, demand for housing and infrastructure, the need to feed a rapidly growing planet and climate change. The UK has taken the lead in teasing out these linkages, reflected in a raft of research initiatives that are coming to fruition, including NERC’s BESS (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability) programme, the co-sponsor of this meeting. The symposium will showcase those contributions through plenary presentation from leading researchers on a range of themes including: the policy drivers and context in which this research sits; working at the larger scales of landscapes and of trophic complexity; understanding the resilience of natural systems to uncertain futures; developments in novel  methodologies  in Earth Observation and in GIS-based  approaches; the challenge of cultural ecosystem services. Each of the plenary sessions is prefaced by a keynote address from leading international figures in the field and there are hands-on workshops showcasing practical tools needed by those taking an ecosystem services approach to management and decision-making.

Further information and to register visit the British Ecological Society (BES) website


Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum seminar Next steps for natural environment policy in England

Thursday, 27th April 2017

Venue: Central London

Full details on the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum website here

In the context of the UK’s referendum vote to leave the EU, delegates at this seminar will have an opportunity to assess the next steps for biodiversity, wildlife conservation and natural capital, including priorities for wider natural environment policy.

Sessions are expected to examine the Government’s progress towards delivering a 25-year Environment Plan and the central role of the Natural Capital Committee in advising and helping to deliver this. Further discussion will cover opportunities and case studies in sustainable land and wildlife management, promoting and managing ecosystem services and creating value from the natural environment through investment and natural capital accounting.

Further sessions are expected to assess the impact of the EU referendum on the future of environmental regulation, investment in environmental conservation schemes, as well as the funding available to charities and research in the sector.

The seminar includes keynote addresses from: Shirley Trundle, Director, Countryside and Nature, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Harvey Bradshaw, Executive Director of Environment and Business, Environment Agency; Professor Paul Leinster, Professor of Environmental Assessment, Cranfield University and Liz Newton, Director, Strategy Development, Natural England. 

European Conference: Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change

Tuesday, 27th June 2017 to Thursday, 29th June 2017

Bonn, Germany


Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change: challenges, opportunities and evidence gaps

European Conference hosted by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA) in co-operation with the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) / German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)

Climate change poses significant challenges to biodiversity and human well-being in Europe. As the majority of Europeans live in urban areas and cities are often subject to exacerbated heat island effects, consequences of climate change may be experienced first in urban settings. Biodiversity in urban as well as in adjacent rural areas, in turn, can provide health and climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits that can be actively fostered by nature-based solutions.

This joint European conference in Bonn will bring together experts from science, policy and practice to highlight and discuss the importance of biodiversity’s contribution to human health in the face of climate change. In this context health is considered in its physical, psychological and social dimension, including socio-environmental equity. The aim of the conference is to increase knowledge, share experiences and foster nature-based solutions to meet the challenges of climate change and health issues.

The conference is divided into three main areas (day 1: science, day 2: practice and implementation, day 3: policy and economy) and will feature presentations by leading experts in the fields of biodiversity, health and climate change including:

-          Humberto Delgado Rosa (EC, DG Environment, Director for Natural Capital)

-          Thomas Elmqvist (Stockholm Resilience Centre)

-          Richard Mitchell (Institute for Health and Wellbeing/CRESH, Glasgow University)

-          Kevin Gaston (University of Exeter, UK)

-          Terry Hartig (Upsala University, Sweden)

-          Catherine Ward Thompson (Edinburgh College of Art, UK)

-          Roderick Lawrence (Director of the Global Environmental Policy Program, University Geneva)

-          Thomas Claßen (NRW Centre for Health, Germany)

-          Karsten Mankowsky (Political chair of the German National Healthy Cities Network)

On day 2, interactive workshop sessions will address eight specific themes ranging from “Evidence for biodiversity’s contribution to health”, to “Health and protected areas” and “Psychological effects of nature and biodiversity” as well as “Linking initiatives in biodiversity, health and policy”, “Allergenic plants and vector borne diseases” and “Nature-based solutions for health and social equity”. In addition, “Landscape planning for multifunctional urban spaces” will be addressed. A special session is dedicated to “Lessons learned from green interventions for enhancing human health in urban areas”, where emphasis is given to good practice examples and the sharing of experience among community level actors.

Results of conference discussions will feed into ENCA recommendations for creating synergies between ongoing policy processes, scientific programmes and practical implementation of nature conservation measures in European urban and rural areas to support health measures in the face of a changing climate.

Here, you will find information on the conference programme and interactive sessions.

Networking opportunities and social events include an evening reception and a conference dinner.

Open abstract call for talks & posters

We welcome the submission of abstracts for oral and poster presentations! Oral presentations will be held within the eight interactive sessions. We are particularly interested in contributions that demonstrate good practice in implementing nature-based solutions to health and equity issues in urban areas and their rural surroundings from a scientific, policy and practical perspective. Ideally these topics should be linked to climate change issues. Please notice that only a limited number of contributions can be accepted.

Deadline for abstract submission is Monday, 6 February 2017 (abstract submission guidelines)


Early bird registration deadline: Monday, 3 April 2017

Final registration deadline: Monday, 29 May 2017

Please register here (Due to limited availability of places early registration is recommended.)

The Association of Applied Biologists - Sustainable Intensification Conference

Tuesday, 28th November 2017 to Thursday, 30th November 2017

Announcement and Call for Papers

A 3-day conference at Rothamstead Research, Harpenden, Herts, UK.

Full information and registration available on the Association of Applied Biologists website or on the conference flier

Agriculture accounts for around 70% of the UK land area. It plays an essential role in the rural economy not only through the production of food and other agricultural outputs, but in the delivery of a wide range of additional ecosystem services and environmental outcomes. These include the provision of clean water, the regulation of air quality, flooding, climate and nutrient cycles, biodiversity, cultural, aesthetic and recreational value.

In addition, the global food supply system faces an unprecedented challenge to feed a growing global population and food security is firmly on the political agenda. UN projections of population growth indicate that the global food supply system will have to feed between 9 and ten billion people by 2050 and, furthermore, the world’s population is expected to continue growing during the second half of the century.

The challenge for the agricultural sector is therefore one of sustainable intensification. This means increasing food production while simultaneously reducing environmental impacts and enhancing the wide range of interlinked ecosystem services that society needs from land. The UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has sought to address this challenge by investing £4 million of research through the Sustainable Intensification Research Platform (SIP) which is due to be concluded in November 2017. This conference will explore the outcomes of SIP and other relevant research.