Sullivan, S and Hannis, M (2015) 'Nets and frames, losses and gains: value struggles in engagements with biodiversity offsetting policy in England.' Ecosystem Services, 15. pp. 162-173. ISSN 2212-0416

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Biodiversity offsetting (BDO) is presented as capable of mitigating development-related harm to populations of species while simultaneously enhancing economic development. The technique involves constructing such harm as a result of market failures, which can be resolved through market solutions. BDO is contentious, attracting outspoken proponents and opponents in equal measure. We examine competing perspectives of interested non-governmental actors through a structured discourse analysis, using qualitative data coding, of 24 written evidence submissions to the UK Parliament׳s Environmental Audit Committee׳s 2013 Inquiry into Biodiversity Offsetting in England. Nuanced positions and areas of agreement notwithstanding, we find that there is a discernible oppositional pattern producing core polarities between organisations favouring and resisting BDO. In interpreting these oppositional dynamics we observe that it is unlikely that this impasse can be resolved since although the debate is framed in terms of differences of view regarding the effectiveness or desirability of specific technical aspects of BDO policy, these differences arise from fundamentally divergent value framings. Struggles over offsetting involve irresolvable value struggles, and negotiations over the assumed (ir)rationality of biodiversity offsetting are thus located firmly within political and ideological arenas.

Item Type: Article

First published online on 27 February 2015 ahead of its inclusion in a specific issue of the journal.

Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2015 17:46
Last Modified: 10 May 2017 15:10
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