Biodiversity research wins government funding
21 November 2022
UK Research and Innovation funding has just been confirmed for Biurbs, a two a half year research project which will empower communities, built-environment professionals and local authorities to protect and enhance the natural capital in urban areas. It is one of nine projects funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
This collaborative research project will bring together researchers from three universities - The University of East London, The University of Manchester, and the University of West England with architecture practice Stolon Studio to investigate the value of biodiversity in multi-functional urban developments through exploring real-world urban sites. Consulting with leading developers, the team will assess the wider benefits of biodiversity using cutting-edge economics and state-of-the-art industry tools.
The Government's 'Nature Positive 2030 Report' recommends that businesses, organisations, cities and local authorities treat biodiversity loss as equal to climate change and adopt targets to redress this. This, combined with the Government's Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) policy expected to become mandatory from November 2023, creates a necessity to consider how biodiversity can be enhanced in almost all planning applications. Improved understanding of the economics of biodiversity within greenfield and brownfield spaces will empower decision makers including communities, built environment professionals and local authorities to protect and enhance the natural capital in urban areas.
The project will combine academic review and synthesis approaches, exploration of real-world outcomes of biodiversity planning tools, and engagement with stakeholders to understand their experiences. So, please keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved.
"As biodiversity is declining globally, we are losing, not only the experience of seeing nature in our daily lives, but also the vital benefits that nature provides us for free, like combatting the effects of climate change, managing stormwater, and helping social well-being and mental health. It is vital that we stop seeing nature as nice accessory and recognise it for its true value: underpinning healthy communities. This project will help us to do that, and we are very excited to get started."
Dr Stuart Connop, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Sustainability Research Institute