Archive | July, 2012

Review of the BioBanking Scheme

6 Jul

Biobanking has had mixed success after being legislated in 2007. Originally designed to stop the remaining natural bushland environments in New South Wales being cleared and destroyed it has been slow to be taken up by both land holders and developers.

The legislation was designed to encourage land owners to set aside farmland for biodiversity preservation and at the same time allow higher intensity developments such as housing and commercial uses of land ensure compensation for destroying natural environment be compensated by offsetting the bio-charactorisics that are destroyed by these developments and facilitate the transferring of these assets to other locations through a theoretical process called biobanking.

This is done by a credit system where land owners put a variety of biodiversity credits on the market. The developers of high intensity and high profit developments, buy these credits and satisfy the destroyed natural environments.

Unfortunately one apple does not equal one orange. Land markets west of the great dividing range in New South Wales are far different to the land markets east of the dividing range. Houses east of the divide anywhere along the coast can command a high prices. This prices compared with a subdued market west of the divide with land and housing prices approaching little more than half those on the coast, coastal developers if they buy credits from the west are able to buy more cheaply in a market that has little or no scarcity on the credit market.

However, any credits produced on the east will be rare and should command a high price. This inequity is explored in the submission to the NSW State Government‘s office of Environment and Heritage.

From an environmental point of view, if developers have a free market that crosses the divide then little if any land will be preserved east of the divide for conservation that is in private ownership, much less allowing appropriate corridor connections to occur.

There lyes another problem with a free and unconstrained market. If land holders in the west can sell credits to eastern developers, then eastern land holder have no interest in leaving their land for nature corridors. In fact they will lobby very hard to avoid any kind of corridor being put on their land. As  is happening in the Wyong Shire today.

As there is a scarcity of natural land in many location all along the coast, partly because of the amount of large lakes and partly because of speculative land investors, any land to form biodiversity asset linkages will be rare.

This means that these conservation lands and the corridors that link them will be rare. Therefore it is appropriate to plan these linkages as soon as possible under a local government planning system.

This can only be done with the political will of the councillors and people as was done in Gosford City Council in the mid 1970’s. However this political will is not evident in the adjacent local government area, Wyong, and after several attempts to get a planned solution to land and biota conservation, no solution has been found to entice land holders to allow corridors though their properties. This is largely because the value of conservation land is much lower than developable¬†land.

This submission review by David Holland attempts to solve this impasse.

To read more click here:

By David Holland

Advertisements