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Government promises a ‘nature positive’ future

Words: Laura Edgar
Blue tit / iStock-1199414785

The UK Government has committed itself to creating a ‘nature positive’ future as part of its response to the Dasgupta Review, which was published in February 2021.

In The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta sets out the first comprehensive economic framework for biodiversity and calls for urgent change in how economic success is thought about and measured in order to protect and enhance the natural world.  

The review makes the case for nature being the “most precious asset” but “significant declines” in biodiversity are undermining the productivity, resilience and adaptability of nature. This, in turn, puts economies, livelihoods and wellbeing at risk.

Responding to the review, the government said future Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) in England, such as transport and energy projects, would be required to provide a net gain in biodiversity and habitats for wildlife. This will be set out in an amendment to the environment bill.

There will also be a goal of delivering a net gain in biodiversity on the Crewe-Manchester leg of the HS2 project.

Kemi Badenoch, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “Protecting and enhancing the natural environment, and the biodiversity that underpins it, is crucial to supporting sustainable, resilient economies, livelihoods and wellbeing.

“The government has an ambitious nature agenda and our response to the independent Dasgupta Review sets out the ways in which the government will go further to ensure our economy supports nature and wildlife – from infrastructure at home to bilateral aid spending overseas.

“In this crucial year for international action to address biodiversity loss, the UK will continue to ensure the natural environment remains at the top of the international agenda.”

Other government commitments include:

  • Making sure new UK bilateral aid spending does not do any harm to nature.
  • Working with the Office for National Statistics to improve the way nature is incorporated into national accounts.
  • Further improving government guidance for embedding environmental considerations into policymaking processes.
  • Incorporating biodiversity into the UK Government Green Financing Framework.
  • Joining the OECD Paris Collaborative on green budgeting, an initiative to encourage governments to incorporate climate and environmental considerations into their financial and fiscal decisions.

Environment secretary George Eustice added: “If we want to realise the aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s landmark review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets.

“This is what lies at the heart of the government’s 25-year environment plan, and our new measures to embed biodiversity net gain further in the planning system for major infrastructure, through our landmark environment bill. It’s also behind our approach to future farming policy and other initiatives such as £3 billion for climate change solutions that restore nature globally and our new due diligence law to clean up our supply chains and help tackle illegal deforestation.”

Read the government’s response in full to The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review here.

Read more:

Approach to economics must change to reverse biodiversity loss, warns review

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