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Next government should create ‘wellbeing act’

Words: Laura Edgar

A strategic approach to rebuilding natural capital is required by the next UK Government to make sure the delivery of national infrastructure does not come at the cost of “already fragile natural environments”, members of environment and sustainability professionals organisation IEMA have concluded.

A survey, taken this month (April), of 646 Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) members concludes that 92 per cent believe “significant new effort is needed” to improve the current rate of loss of biodiversity and natural habitats in the UK.

Furthermore, of those surveyed, 89 per cent say introducing a new Nature and Wellbeing Act is the solution to the issue, enshrining a “much-needed strategic approach in law”.

Nick Blyth, sustainability, climate change and the natural environment lead at IEMA, said: “The UK is in the privileged position of still having a wealth of natural capital which makes a real contribution to our recovering economy. However, if we are to retain our natural assets and wildlife, the next government must be the first Parliament to create a Nature and Wellbeing Act.”

Additionally, natural environment valuation should be given a more prominent role in decision-making that is nationally significant, according to 88 per cent of respondents.

Respondents also feel the next government should strengthen the role of the Natural Capital Committee, an independent advisory body to the government, so that it “sits on a par with the Committee on Climate Change”, launched in 2008.