Biodiversity: Government seeks investment in 'natural capital markets'

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The government has published its response to the Dasgupta review on biodiversity, announcing multiple actions for a "nature positive" future.
Among the range of actions, the government said it plans to create a 'Nature for Climate Impact Fund' to "leverage private finance into new natural capital markets for carbon, water quality, biodiversity, natural flood alleviation and other ecosystem services".

The response also reveals that the government will review the case for broadening the scope of the UK Infrastructure Bank to include areas such as improving the UK’s natural capital, as well as drive economic growth, before bringing forward legislation to put the bank on a statutory footing. 

In response to the review, the government also said it will legislate for a framework for setting new legally binding environmental targets, and has tabled an amendment to require a "new world-leading" target on species abundance for 2030 which aims to "halt the decline" of nature.

It will also legislate in England by amending the environment bill for ‘biodiversity net gain’ for nationally significant infrastructure projects and ensuring all new UK bilateral aid is spent in a way that does no harm to nature.

A 'nature recovery network' will be established, and be supported by a nationwide, locally developed spatial planning framework to identify "priorities and opportunities for nature recovery, and help target action and investment".

The document also points to the government's 'Trees Action Plan' and 'Peat Action Plan', drawn up in response to the Dasgupta review, as well as a commitment to designate 'Highly Protected Marine Areas' in response to the Benyon review on this topic, and is considering the potential scope for a soil health action plan for England as a means for "supporting land managers and farmers".

"The government has an ambitious nature agenda and our response to the independent Dasgupta Review sets out the ways in which the Government will go further to ensure our economy supports nature and wildlife – from infrastructure at home to bilateral aid spending overseas," said exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch.

Environment secretary George Eustice added: "If we want to realise the aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s landmark Review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets. This is what lies at the heart of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, and our new measures to embed biodiversity net gain further in the planning system for major infrastructure, through our landmark environment bill."

Mike Clark
Nick Spencer
Claire Jones
Stuart OBrien

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