Conservation covenants were introduced by the Environment Act 2021. They are private, voluntary legal agreements which bind current and future landowners to positive and restrictive conservation related actions. They have been available for use since 30 September 2022, but rules enabling a conservation covenant to be registered as a local land charge came into effect today. It is not clear how widely conservation covenants will be used, although they could be a valuable tool for securing mandatory biodiversity net gain for town and country planning development – a requirement which will come into effect pursuant to the Environment Act 2021 next autumn.

Defra has recently published guidance on "Getting and using a conservation covenant" for landowners and responsible bodies. We have also prepared a detailed briefing note with further information about conservation covenants, their potential use and requirements that need to be met. Please contact us if you would like a copy. Further information on conservation covenants and the mandatory biodiversity net gain requirement is also available on our UK Environment Act 2021 Latest Thinking Hub here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.