Dr Alan Bond, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Aldina Franco, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Mr Chris Gerrard, Anglian Water Services Ltd
Dr Julia Baker, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering
We live in an era characterised by the global impact of humans on the planet. The biodiversity consequences are well known and it is critical to devise strategies to prevent further biodiversity loss and to maximise the delivery of ecosystem services. ‘Biodiversity offsets’ are a means of delivering compensation for unavoidable biodiversity loss associated with planned development, and are increasingly required through legislation and national or international policies. ‘No net loss’ offsetting delivers a neutral outcome for biodiversity, whereas ‘net gain’ offsetting policies are favoured by many stakeholders.
However, views on biodiversity offsetting range from outright rejection to qualified acceptance amongst both experts and civil society. This presents significant legitimacy issues for developers, threatening their ‘social license to operate’ (SLO).
This research will work with Anglian Water as a business case study. Specifically, the objectives are to:
- conceptualise net gain based on global policy and practice;
- identify the expectations of different stakeholders, including civil society, of net gain;
- evaluate existing approaches to the delivery of net gain; and
- determine how Anglian Water can deliver net gain in their region with minimum risk to their SLO.
The student will use Anglian Water’s five-year plan as a case study, along with stakeholder engagement (including interviews) and expert elicitation approaches, to develop an understanding of the legitimacy implications of different conceptualisations of net gain. Metrics (e.g. value of native and non-native species) will be used to evaluate the biodiversity outcomes of the different conceptualisations.
ARIES DTP training (e.g. grand challenges, summer school, advanced workshops), training at UEA (in social science and quantitative data analyses methods) and by the CASE partner (Anglian Water) (e.g. elearning and job shadowing) will be made available to the student. The candidate will acquire and/or strengthen a number of skills including:
- Expert elicitation;
- Interview techniques;
- Prioritization software and functional traits analyses;
- Metaanalysis, systematic review method.
We seek an enthusiastic, proactive individual with a passion for biodiversity conservation and a desire to engage, and work collaboratively, with diverse stakeholders. Suitable backgrounds include both natural and social sciences.