Nature & Wellbeing Act needed to protect dwindling natural capital

The UK's current rate of loss of biodiversity and natural capital is reaching a crisis point and "significant new effort" will be needed by the incoming government to ensure the delivery of much-needed national infrastructure.

Natural capital refers to the elements of the natural environment that provide valuable goods and functions such as clean air, clean water, food and recreation

Natural capital refers to the elements of the natural environment that provide valuable goods and functions such as clean air, clean water, food and recreation

That’s the view of 92% of environment and sustainability professionals in the latest opinion poll from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) in the build-up to next month’s General Election.

“The UK is in the privileged position of still having a wealth of natural capital which makes a real contribution to our recovering economy,” explained IEMA’s lead on sustainability, climate change and the natural environment, Nick Blyth.

“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.”

From the 646 IEMA members polled this month, 89% said that the swift introduction of a new Nature and Wellbeing Act would provide a solution to the issue of dwindling natural capital and would enshrine a much-needed strategic approach in law.

--- edie explains: natural capital ---

A similar proportion (88%) said that natural environment valuation should be given a more prominent role in nationally significant decision-making, and that the next Government should strengthen the role of the Natural Capital Committee (NCC); increasing its responsibilities and resourcing so that it sits on a par with the Committee on Climate Change which was launched in 2008.

In their election manifesto last week, all of the main parties – with the exception of UKIP –did give mention to natural capital or biodiversity.  

  • The Conservative Party said it would work with the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) to develop a 25-year plan to restore the UK's biodiversity
  • Labour said it would work with the NCC to develop a Nature Law
  • The Lib Dems said it would set national targets for reducing air and water pollution, again under the guidance of the NCC. 
  • The Green Party was the only political party to specifically promote the development of a Nature & Wellbeing Act; reiterating the need to "halt the damage to nature in the UK and return protection of our landscape to a central part in our national life".  
 
Readers' poll: Have your say... 

Luke Nicholls

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