The Country Landowners Association has said it is delighted Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson has recognised the importance of biodiversity offsetting in national parks.
Responding to Mr Paterson’s speech at the National Parks Conference, the Association said biodiversity and a sustainable rural economy are intrinsically linked, and are not mutually exclusive.
CLA President Harry Cotterell said: “The countryside must be dynamic if the rural economy is to thrive, and our national parks should be no less subject to change than townscapes.
“The quality of the natural environment depends on resources which come at a cost to those who manage the land. Biodiversity offsetting, when appropriate, allows an increase in economic activity while also enabling the overall conservation and enhancement of the natural environment.”
The CLA also expressed surprise at Defra’s claim that national parks have a strong track record for helping the rural economy.
Mr Cotterell added: “In our experience national parks are often a barrier rather than a contributor to rural enterprise.”
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