A company specialising in biodiversity restoration has made three appointments to its senior team to spearhead the company’s next phase of growth, following a £multi-million investment from specialist alternative asset manager, Gresham House.
The move is the latest part of a wide-scale recruitment drive to grow the current team of 40 to over 200 in the coming years.
Environment Bank specialises in creating Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) units, which under the Environment Act 2021 are mandatory for all new developments and infrastructure projects in England. BNG is a concept that was pioneered by founder Professor David Hill CBE in 2007 and is based on leaving nature in a better state than before development began.
Environment Bank leases land from farmers and landowners over 30 years to create ‘Habitat Banks’ which deliver significant gains for nature. The BNG Units they create are then used by developers to meet their legal requirements.
Working in partnership with landowners, the team of expert ecologists at Environment Bank helps plan and create the Habitat Banks, supporting the management over the term of the lease. The Habitat Banks create huge gains for nature, as well as providing a guaranteed diversified income stream for farmers and landowners.
The new appointments see experienced environmental and real estate lawyer Alexa Culver LLB join as general counsel for the company, bringing with her over 14 years of background in environmental, natural capital and real estate law, advising and supporting the team strategically and ensuring smooth progress of their national programme of Habitat Bank land transactions and BNG Unit sales
Tom Brown and Kerriann McLackland join the new land team, as regional heads of land for the North and South East regions respectively.
Tom brings over nine years of experience in private practice working with farmers, landowners, and rural communities to deliver sustainable strategic rural business planning and development, along with detailed knowledge of the wide range of professional practice matters.
Kerriann is a rural surveyor with over 20 years of experience, and a background in estate management for institutional landowners, including National Trust, RSPB and a number of local authorities.
The duo will lead on lease opportunities with landowners, create partnerships with delivery organisations, form joint ventures and deliver on long-term landscape change.
Commenting on her appointment, Miss Culver said: “Although Environment Bank has been established since 2006 thanks to some of the UK’s leading ecologists, this is a step-change moment for the business, after years of lobbying with the government. Finally, the Environment Act now ensures that corporates and developers provide net gains to biodiversity as part of a mandatory legal requirement.
“It’s not easy to find creative in-house roles for lawyers so I leapt at the chance to join Environment Bank when the opportunity arose. My experience working in transactional real estate, projects and regeneration, and in the innovative technology and environmental services sector meant I felt that I had something to offer. I feel very fortunate to be instrumental in navigating rapid developments in environmental legislation and helping to create a brand new Habitat Bank product.”
Tom Brown added: “I am passionate about how we farm and manage the landscape and for the huge opportunities Habitat Banks offer for rural land use and the future of farming.
“Environment Bank is leading the way in demonstrating how diversified income streams can be generated from nature whilst also protecting the environment, habitats and rural communities. I am excited to be on board in helping to create an impact, at scale, which is meaningful and lasting. No other business in the world is doing this.”
With its head office in York, Environment Bank’s fast-growing team of ecologists, lawyers, land specialists, and contractors, from apprenticeship level to PHD specialists, and headed by former Natural England CEO James Cross has meant that it is already leading the industry, rolling out Habitat Banks in every LPA area by early 2024.
Kerriann said; “It’s a great time to join Environment Bank and I am looking forward to engaging with more landowners. Not only are we supporting the rural economy with guaranteed, diversified business opportunities but the Habitat Banks we are creating across England will make a real and lasting contribution to nature restoration and that is such an exciting prospect. I feel like I have joined a company with a strong collective purpose and where I can make a genuine difference – to people and the planet.”
CEO James Cross said: “This is an exciting time for Environment Bank. The past 12 months have seen phenomenal growth in our business, which is great news for nature and for the economy. We are so pleased to strengthen our team to enable our continued growth. Our vision and our passion mean that we are able to attract and retain the best talent which will be vital to our success. Tom, Kerriann and Alexa are leaders in their fields and will play key roles in leading and shaping our future and influencing environmental change.”