Investing in nature will reap rewards for society and economy

Wild flowers at Chimney Meadows by Wendy Tobitt

An influential independent panel, chaired by Oxford University’s Professor Dieter Helm, has today unveiled a new report that aims to place the recovery of nature at the heart of recovery in the economy and society.

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) welcomes the publication of the Natural Capital Committee’s third and final report, which shows that investing in nature makes obvious economic sense.

The State of Natural Capital Protecting and Improving Natural Capital for Prosperity and Wellbeing sets the challenge of securing the recovery of nature in a generation, for its own sake and for the sake of the economy.

It recommends investment in natural habitats in England, such as creating wetlands in catchment areas upstream of major towns and cities such as Reading and Oxford, more woodland planting, and demonstrates the significant benefits to society and communities such activities would bring.

Estelle Bailey, chief executive of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust welcomed the report. “We rely on nature for our health and wellbeing, and to provide the vital resources that underpin the economy.

"Nature is continually undermined when this understanding of its value is not considered by decision-makers. Professor Helm’s report challenges this thinking and provides a vital intellectual case for placing nature at the heart of society and the economy,” said Estelle.

The catchment-based approach to managing the Upper Thames Living Landscape upstream of Oxford is referenced in the Natural Capital Committee’s Report as an example of how coordinated planning between private sector and civil society helps give us cleaner water.

The Report calls for a 25 year plan to meet the Government’s commitment to protect and improve the environment within a generation, and this is likely to require underpinning with legislation.

The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB, supported by other organisations, are asking all political parties to commit to a Nature and Wellbeing Act to restore nature in a generation.