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Natural Capital

Our expanding portfolio of natural capital legal work


Natural capital expertise

Our National Capital Legal Team is continuing to build its impressive portfolio of legal work for clients operating within the natural capital economy. We are a multidisciplinary team covering:

  • Environmental lawyers who are undisputed national leaders in natural environment law. We advise on all legal frameworks underpinning the natural capital economy including habitats regulations assessment, nutrient neutrality, water neutrality, biodiversity net gain, strategic protected species licensing and marine net gain
  • Commercial contract lawyers who are experts at drafting and negotiating nutrient credit or biodiversity unit allocation agreements to include all provisions necessary to suit the vendor or purchaser (depending on the client)
  • Section 106 agreement and conservation covenant specialists who draft and carry out due diligence on the required legal documents to secure landowners’ long-term obligations so as to create and sell nutrient credits or biodiversity units
  • Planning lawyers, consultants and advocates who understand fully and provide expert advice on strategies to address the implications for planning applications, planning determinations and planning appeals of biodiversity net gain and other natural capital issues
  • Real estate lawyers who advise on appropriate land acquisition strategies and vehicles for entrepreneurial companies or organisations looking to create habitat banks from which credits and units are derived
  • Corporate lawyers who advise on the corporate structuring and finance leveraging for new emerging companies in the natural capital arena 

Examples of our national capital legal team’s work

In the last 18 months, our National Capital Legal Team has undertaken the following examples of legal work for clients:

Nitrate / phosphate credits needed by housing developers:
For housing developer clients, negotiated the terms of nitrate / phosphate credit purchase agreements and conducted due diligence on the s106 agreements underpinning the relevant nutrient mitigation schemes so as to ensure that the credits, once purchased, would be acceptable to Natural England and the local planning authority

Entrepreneurial companies and landowners creating and delivering nutrient credits and biodiversity units:
We advised a large number of entrepreneurial companies and landowners on how to set up / create nutrient credits and biodiversity units to sell to developers, including advice on the future use of conservation covenants

Biodiversity net gain planning policy:
We advised housing developers on how to push back against some LPA’s unreasonable demands relating to development plan-based biodiversity net gain requirements

LPAs creating their own habitat banks:
We advised a local authority on the corporate and real estate aspects of setting up a new habitat bank for biodiversity net gain purposes and is now assisting other local authorities on similar projects

Creating a biodiversity net gain mapping service:
We advised an entrepreneurial company developing a biodiversity mapping tool to assist in biodiversity net gain calculations of land

Ecological consultancy biodiversity net gain terms and conditions:
We prepared suitable contractual terms and conditions in addition to suitable standard ecological report wording for ecological consultancies, so as to protect them from potential customer complaints in the context of the ecological consultancy’s services to deliver biodiversity net gain calculations

“Additionality” and creating biodiversity units from European protected species compensatory habitat:
We advised a compensatory habitat provider on the potential for creating biodiversity units from European protected species compensatory habitat

Financing natural capital projects:
We collaborated with companies financing natural capital projects

Biodiversity net gain and conservation covenant legal training courses:
We have provided numerous legal training courses for developer companies and training courses for environmental professionals on the forthcoming Biodiversity Net Gain and Conservation Covenant legal regime

Advice on land purchase contracts and biodiversity net gain:
We advised a leading retail client on the draft wording in its land purchase contracts to allow it to walk away from completion of the land purchase if the developer costs associated with Biodiversity Net Gain or nutrient / water neutrality are found to be prohibitive

Advice to housing developers on scope for future development of land secured for delivery of biodiversity units:
We have recently advised a housing developer on this issue

Natural capital training:
We will be running new training courses on mandatory biodiversity net gain for consultants and developers; conservation covenants and responsible bodies; and mandatory biodiversity net gain for LPAs (planning officers and local government ecologists)

Habitat regulations assessments, protected species licences, non-licensable protected species method statements, natural environment compliance advice:
Beyond natural capital schemes,  we have continued to hold its market leading position in providing its core services in these natural environmental law areas. We continue to advise developers, local planning authorities, public bodies, and landowners on key natural environment legal frameworks for the protection of habitats and species including:

  • Undertaking habitats regulations assessment appropriate assessments
  • Meeting the habitats regulations assessment derogation tests
  • Obtaining project-based protected species licences
  • Undertaking works lawfully without protected species licences
  • Water abstraction licensing
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • We have also continued to provide training courses on all the above topics, both on a ticketed basis and in-house for clients.

For more information
Please contact Penny Simpson or Richard Broadbent or any other member of our national capital legal team.

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