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Government urged to invest in nature in the North

Words: Huw Morris

The government must invest up to £100 billion over the next 25 years to create a plan for nature in the north of England, according to a think tank.

The IPPR North said a lack of funding for the natural environment was a “political failure”. The Covid-19 pandemic meant efforts to repair and rebuild the North’s economy during and after the crisis should make the most of the opportunities that investment in nature can bring.

“Reversing the underinvestment and under-valuation of nature will increase the resilience of the Northern economy,” it said. “Not only that, but strategic investment in nature represents a substantial opportunity to develop a fair, green, zero-carbon Northern economy.”

The think tank called for a pan-regional effort, led by the North’s leaders, to join up and coordinate local efforts to build environmental resilience, and to set out a strategic plan for nature that would make “an unanswerable case for new powers and funds from Westminster”.

The government should provide funding for the development of a spatial strategy for investment in nature in the North, including a mapping of its natural capital. The plan should be owned and developed by Northern leaders, including the local enterprise partnerships, the metro mayors and local authority leaders.

A Plan for Nature in the North of England: Natural Assets North Final Report is available here.

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