Responding to yesterday’s Budget, Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:
“The Chancellor has offered some green nuggets, but not the green recovery hoped for. He has not announced the investment or fiscal incentives needed to develop low-carbon and nature-positive sectors, which both have a huge potential for regional growth and long-term jobs.
“While a new green focus to the Bank of England’s remit is a positive move, we also need a sustained and substantial long-term investment plan from central Government for the natural environment. This must incorporate the recommendations of the Dasgupta Review commissioned by the Treasury, in order to meet climate and nature recovery commitments.
“Creating a legally binding target for nature’s recovery is also vital. This would drive private sector investment in natural infrastructure, create green jobs, and ensure that the natural assets our economy relies on are in good condition.”
Nature groups say that significant and sustained investment in improving our natural world is needed to tackle both the nature and climate crises, and to support a green economic recovery from the pandemic. This should include:
- At least £1.01 billion annual investment in priority terrestrial and marine habitat creation and restoration
- £3-4billion annual investment in world-leading, high standards food and farming
- £142 million annual investment in sustainable fisheries and marine protection
- In collaboration with the Department of Health, at least £1 billion annual investment in levelling up access to nature
- With the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, a one-off investment of £150 million in environmental information and data, plus an annual investment of at least £331 million in advice, enforcement and expertise in arms-length bodies and Local Authorities.
- An annual investment of £6 million in invasive species biosecurity
- Funding for a National Nature Service pilot, as recently recommended by the Environment Audit Committee. Funds from the significantly underspent Kickstart budget could be released to enable this.