In response to the Dasgupta journal on the economics of biodiversity, published earlier in the year, the government endorsed the journal’s central finding that nature and the biodiversity that underpins it, ultimately supports it. account for savings, livelihoods and well-being.
The government is committed to providing a “natural positive” future, in which we leave the environment in a better state than we found it in, and ensure that economic and financial decision-making is geared towards this goal.
New infrastructure projects of national importance in England, such as future transport and energy projects, will therefore have to bring a net gain in biodiversity and habitat for wildlife – through an amendment to the draft. environmental law. At the same time, as part of its ambition to be one of the most environmentally friendly infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK, HS2 – Europe’s largest infrastructure project – will aim to generate a net gain in biodiversity on its Crewe-Manchester section.
The government also today pledged to ensure that all new UK bilateral aid spending does not harm nature.
In addition, building on its ambitious existing nature program and looking ahead to COP26, the response to the review indicates how the government will go further, including by:
committing up to £ 3million in additional support for the development of the Nature-Related Financial Disclosures Working Group Framework – a market-led initiative that will help companies assess emerging risks and opportunities related to nature
work with the Office for National Statistics to improve the integration of nature into our national accounts
further improve government guidance for integrating environmental considerations into policy development processes
incorporating biodiversity into the UK government’s green funding framework
join the OECD Paris Collaborative on Green Budgeting, an initiative to encourage governments to integrate climate and environmental considerations into their financial and fiscal decisions
Exchequer Secretary of the Treasury Kemi Badenoch said:
Protecting and enhancing the natural environment and the biodiversity that supports it are essential to support sustainable and resilient economies, livelihoods and well-being.
The government has an ambitious nature agenda and our response to Dasgupta’s independent review sets out ways the government will go further to ensure our economy supports nature and wildlife – from national infrastructure to spending on bilateral aid abroad.
In this crucial year for international action to tackle biodiversity loss, the UK will continue to ensure that the natural environment remains high on the international agenda.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
If we are to realize the aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s historical review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets.
This is at the heart of the government’s 25-year environmental plan and of our new measures to further integrate the net gain in biodiversity into the planning system for major infrastructures, through our environmental bill. It is also behind our approach to future agricultural policy and other initiatives such as £ 3bn for climate change solutions that restore nature to the world and our new due diligence law to clean up our chains. supply and help fight illegal deforestation.
Significant progress is already being made towards a positive natural future, and today’s response builds on a series of actions already taken. This includes a new species abundance target for 2030, aimed at halting species decline, and a commitment to protect 30% of the UK’s land and oceans by 2030, while encouraging others to do so. likewise, notably through the British Presidency of the G7 where yesterday, the G7 approved a Pact for Nature to stop and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030
G7 leaders also agreed on plans to transform the financing of infrastructure projects in developing countries – the ‘Build Better for the World’ plan – bringing together the G7 countries under the chairmanship of the United Kingdom to develop a high-quality financing offering for vital infrastructure, from railways in Africa to wind farms in Asia.
The Prime Minister launched the UK’s £ 500million Blue Planet Fund to help countries like Ghana, Indonesia and the Pacific Island States tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.
In England, support for the agricultural sector is being redirected to improve the environment, animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. The government has also pledged at least £ 3 billion from the UK’s International Climate Finance to nature and biodiversity over five years. And the government has drawn up a ten point plan for a green industrial revolution that will mobilize £ 12 billion in public investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs across the UK.
At the recent G7 finance ministers meeting, an agreement was also reached to implement and strengthen beneficial ownership information registries. This is a big step forward in global efforts to tackle illicit financing and will also boost the UK’s work as G7 chairman to tackle environmental crimes – like the illegal cash trade. wild and illegal logging.
The government’s full response can be read here
The independent journal Dasgupta on the economics of biodiversity was commissioned by the government in 2019 and was published in February 2021. It is available here
Last week, the Secretary of the Exchequer in the Treasury supported the launch of the Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Working Group, which will help better integrate nature into financial decision-making. See here
HS2’s announcement goes beyond the existing commitment of no net loss of biodiversity on HS2, and sets a new standard for HS2’s environmental commitments. Going forward, the aim is to ensure that HS2 continues to be one of the most environmentally friendly infrastructure projects ever in the UK.
The government and HS2 Ltd recognize that old growth forests are an irreplaceable resource. Old growth forests and all associated offsets are excluded from current HS2 No Net Loss (NNL) biodiversity calculations and will continue to be excluded from our net gain target. The project will continue to seek to further reduce the impacts of the project on all irreplaceable habitats.