The Eden Project has announced a plan to help tackle the biodiversity crisis felt throughout the United Kingdom by unveiling a new company, the Eden Project Wildflower Bank.
The Eden Project Wildflower Bank aims to create wildflower-rich grassland habitats across the UK through the creation of biodiversity net gain units.
Biodiversity net gain units are a way of measuring an uplift or increase in biodiversity through either habitat creation or enhancement.
The team behind the initiative will offer a nature recovery approach which will conserve, manage and enhance habitats to increase biodiversity while also making a significant contribution to human well-being.
The Eden Project Wildflower Bank will manage these areas of land dedicated to a particular habitat for a minimum of 30 years.
The Eden Project Wildflower Bank will work in partnership with landowners, organisations and businesses looking to invest in a positive gain for nature.
The news comes following the announcement of government legislation being implemented from January 2024 that will mandate developers to achieve at least a 10 per cent biodiversity net gain on almost all developments in England seeking planning permission.
The Eden Project Wildflower Bank will offer a straightforward and rewarding route to deliver biodiversity net gain and will work with both projects covered by the new legislation as well as those not subject to it.
The work will also support landowners who are seeking to deliver enhancements to biodiversity through the incentives set out by the government’s Environmental Improvement Plan 2023.
In addition, the Eden Project Wildflower Bank will create a series of seed hubs across the country to support nature recovery. These hubs will provide the means to harvest, clean, store and distribute wildflower seed and support nature recovery more widely.
The bank will adhere to the nature markets principles, which encourage and support responsible private investment in nature recovery.
It will draw on the expertise of the National Wildflower Centre (NWC), which is part of the Eden Project.
For the past 20 years, the NWC has been delivering creative conservation and new wildflower landscapes all across the UK.
In the UK, wildflower-rich habitats have been particularly hard hit by habitat loss, with an estimated 97 per cent reduction in the number of wildflower meadows since World War II. A further one in five of all UK flowering plant species are now threatened with extinction.
Eden’s development director Dan James said: “We know that the nature crisis is at the heart of the planetary emergency. If we cannot increase the level of biodiversity of our landscapes and support nature recovery, we will not be able to reverse the impact of climate change.
“As one of the UK’s leading environmental charities, it is important that the Eden Project leads the way in supporting habitat creation and restoration.
“The Eden Project Wildflower Bank offers an exciting route for us to help make that happen.”
The Eden Project Wildflower Bank is now seeking landowners to help grow a network of wildflower habitats and support wildflower seed production, which, at the same time, will deliver them new income streams that support nature enhancement.
Those wanting to find out more should contact the Eden Project Wildflower Bank through www.edenproject.com.