Biobanking: how to save the environment and make some money

This e-Brief provides an overview of the Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme (BioBanking Scheme) which operates in New South Wales and gives an insight into:

  • why the BioBanking Scheme is so important for developers to understand; and
  • how landowners can generate income from an alternate source.

What is BioBanking?

The New South Wales Department of Environment & Climate Change (the Department) commenced The BioBanking Scheme in July 2008 to offset or improve the negative ecological effects caused by development.

The Basics

The BioBanking Scheme helps to address the loss of biodiversity by enabling landowners to establish bio banking sites on land with biodiversity values including threatened species.

Landowners enter “BioBanking Agreement” with the NSW Government which sets out specific management functions that the landowner agrees to undertake (i.e. how they plan to maintain or improve the biodiversity of the site). In return, the landowner receives BioBanking credits which can be traded on the open market.

The Credits

BioBanking credits may be purchased by:

  • developers – developers are required to “improve or maintain” the ecological environment. They will or maybe required to purchase biobanking credits to offset the negative effects of development;
  • philanthropists – environmental philanthropists often purchase BioBanking credits for the betterment of the environment; or
  • local governments – Councils and local governments may purchase biobanking credits to offset the negative effects of developments such as roads.

As there is an open market for BioBanking credits, the price maybe agreed between the landowner and buyer.
Each biobank site may generate a variety of different types of biobanking credits. Where a developer requires a specific type of BioBanking credit, the demand could result in significant financial reward for the landowner.

BioBanking Trust Fund

An important component of the Biobanking Scheme is the creation of the BioBanking Trust Fund. When biobanking credits are sold, an amount agreed previously with the Department is deposited into the fund to be used for site management expenses.

Advice on the BioBank Scheme

Whether you are a landowner seeking to establish a BioBanking site, a landowner seeking to sell Biobanking credits or a developer seeking to purchase Biobanking credits, we can advise you on how to smoothly navigate the biobanking process.

For more information, please contact:

Massimo Di Maio | Special Counsel
(02) 6279 4444