York-based company doubles staff to 40 - and has plans to reach 200

Tom Brown and Kerriann McLackland
Tom Brown and Kerriann McLackland

A York company that helps developments prove their green credentials has already doubled its staff to 40 this year and has now announced ambitions to increase numbers to 200.

Environment Bank specialises in biodiversity restoration to help projects show they are delivering the Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) needed for new developments.

The company, founded in 2007 and based at the University of York, has just taken on three senior staff to fuel this growth, following a multi-million pound investment from investment from specialist alternative asset manager, Gresham House.

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.

Alexa has 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.

Miss Culver says the new mandates surrounding Biological Net Gain presented a step-change for the business.

“I feel very fortunate to be instrumental in navigating rapid developments in environmental legislation and helping to create a brand-new Habitat Bank product,” she added.

Tom Brown added: “No other business in the world is doing this.”

Headquartered at the Catalyst, 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 local planning authority area by early 2024.

Kerriann said; “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.”

CEO James Cross said: “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.”