Government ponders role of nature-based solutions in local recovery strategies

The Government has opened a consultation to gain a better understanding of how nature-based solutions can assist with local strategies to contribute to rewilding and the Environment Bill, as part of a wider move across England to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat.

Government ponders role of nature-based solutions in local recovery strategies

Last year

The consultation will seek views on “Local Nature Recovery Strategies” across regions in England, as part of a commitment laid out in the Environment Bill.

The Local Nature Recovery Strategies are designed to drive the recovery of natural landscape and wildlife by creating frameworks for local areas to prioritise certain solutions and map new proposals.

The Strategies will form part of the national Nature Recovery Network, which plans to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat outside protected sites.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “These Local Nature Recovery Strategies will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats which people can enjoy across the country.

“I urge local authorities and public bodies alike to take part in our consultation and provide views. Once rolled out nationally, Local Nature Recovery Strategies will underpin the Nature Recovery Network – a flagship element of our 25 Year Environment Plan and a key mechanism for knitting these precious habitats together.”

Last year, local authorities in Cornwall, Buckinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Northumberland were selected to trial these Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

Between them, the local authorities were tasked with creating wildflower habitats, woodlands, wetland and green spaces for people, as well as restoring peatlands. Peatland covers around 10% of the UK, with the national stock estimated to embody around 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon, but around 80% of this habitat is currently degraded.

Under the scheme, councils received up to £1m of grant funding to map the most valuable habitats in their area, identify opportunities for restoration and implement holistic plans. Defra claimed that the five pilot projects will kick-start the creation of a million acres of habitat and will pave the way for mandatory strategies. The Environment Bill, in its current form, will require all local authorities in England to develop strategies by 2025.

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said: “Restoring our natural world after years of decline will bring a wealth of benefits to people, our environment and our economy. We’re pleased to support today’s consultation opening which will allow our partners to feed into how the Local Nature Recovery Strategies will run.

“Natural England has played a key role in developing the Local Nature Recovery Strategies, including running the pilots which used an evidence-based, locally led, collaborative approach. We look forward to the results of the consultation and then supporting rolling Local Nature Recovery Strategies out across England to help create a national Nature Recovery Network that allows nature to thrive for the benefit of people and wildlife.”

Global gap

Globally, the world is facing an $8.1trn financing gap into nature to help combat the climate crisis and ecological breakdown, according to UN reports that warn that annual investments into nature-based solutions need to increase fourfold by 2050.

The report found that current investment into nature-based solutions sits at $133bn – 0.10% of global GDP – the most of which comes from public sources. However, up to $4.1trn is required by 2030, which rises to $8.1trn 2050, a four-fold increase.

Up to $203bn annually is required for forest-based solutions, with peatland and mangrove restoration also highlighted as critical solutions. Marine environment solutions such as seagrass meadows were not covered by the report but will be included in future editions.

The report also estimates that annual investments into these solutions will need to reach $536bn annually by 2050.

Join the conversation at edie’s COP26 Inspiration Sessions 

On Thursday 9 September, edie will be hosting three back-to-back online events focused on how businesses can harness nature-based solutions while adapting to the changing climate to improve resiliency. 

Hosted during edie’s special COP26 Focus Week of content and events, this online event offers up an afternoon of live, interactive webinar presentations and discussions – all dedicated to driving business action around these two critical themes of the upcoming climate talks.

Click here for a full line-up of sponsors and speakers, and to register. Grosvenor, EY, the Woodland Trust have been announced as sponsors, alongside headline Festival sponsor Virgin Media O2. Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Matt Mace

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