Minimising biodiversity loss the English way


Recently, England launched a biodiversity credit scheme in an attempt to force all new road and housebuilding projects to benefit nature rather than damage it. Under this scheme, all new building projects are required to achieve a 10% net gain in biodiversity or habitat. For example, if the construction of a road results in the destruction of a woodland, the scheme necessitates the creation of a new woodland, adding a further 10% to compensate for the loss.

We asked Mette Dalsgaard, Business Development Director, and Biologist Katrine Grace Turner about their perspectives on this initiative.

Should all countries do as England?

“Other countries could potentially adapt and implement a credit scheme similar to England’s. However, it would be important for these countries to align the scheme with their own existing regulations and legal frameworks. Additionally, to ensure a more comprehensive approach, the scheme should consider including initiatives for existing buildings and their value chains, not just new construction projects. This would ensure a more holistic approach to promoting biodiversity and mitigating the impact of human activities on nature,” says Mette Dalsgaard.

Biologist Katrine Grace Turner, who recently joined COWI to help enhance our biodiversity capacities, agrees.

“Fundamentally, biodiversity requires space to flourish. The biodiversity crisis has arisen from the extensive use of land for our own needs, significantly reducing the space left for nature. To reverse the crisis, we need to take care of the existing biodiversity because it takes a long time to recreate ecosystems. From what we know, we need more regulation to protect biodiversity at both national and EU levels. So far, voluntary measures have not proved to be fruitful. Although the English credit scheme alone will not resolve the crisis, it will put a focus on avoiding the loss of nature.”

Katrine Grace Turner and Mette Dalsgaard both believe that working with biodiversity is now an essential priority for businesses rather than an optional choice. This is critical for nature’s own sake and becomes even more urgent in light of the new sustainability reporting scheme, EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which factors in biodiversity issues.

“Companies need to evaluate their supply chains, analyse their material requirements and make the necessary adjustments to their business operations. They will increasingly be affected by the upcoming sustainability regulation. They must be able to effectively communicate their social responsibility, including their commitment to biodiversity,” says Mette Dalsgaard.

Is all nature good nature?

At COWI, some of our work with biodiversity relates to urban nature. And even though the big battle for biodiversity centres around preserving vast, protected and unbroken natural areas, as highlighted by Katrine Grace Turner, nature in and around cities plays a part, too.

“Biodiverse urban nature and nature around major infrastructure projects may be used to make green corridors that connect vast natural areas, helping us to reconnect with nature. These urban green spaces serve as oases, benefitting local nature. Every action counts. This connection to and understanding of the value of all life forms are crucial to changing our current path amidst the biodiversity crisis.” 


  • make biodiversity strategies for municipalities, utility companies and more.
  • advise on biodiversity in connection with sustainability certifications in the buildings industry, such as DGNB and BREEAM.
  • advise on biodiversity in connection with large energy infrastructure projects.

Get in contact

COWI employee Mette Dalsgaard

Mette Dalsgaard
Society, Economics and Environment
Associate Senior Business Development Director, Denmark

Tel: +45 56401005