Network Rail Infrastructure Projects (IP), the division responsible for delivering railway upgrades, is committed to a “measurable net positive contribution towards biodiversity in the UK”. No Net Loss to Biodiversity on the Greater West Programme (TGWP) is a pilot project, putting principle into practice by compensating for unavoidable habitat loss (mainly young semi-natural woodland and some scrub) during the electrification programme.
Although scrub, grassland and other low-lying habitats will grow back where trees have been removed, there has been some unavoidable loss to biodiversity. Funding is available for the creation and improvement of similar habitats to those that have been lost, including funds for up to three years aftercare, in the vicinity of the railway line, a process known as “biodiversity offsetting”. This is a voluntary commitment by Network Rail, not bound to any planning obligations or client requirements.