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Government's take on nature

The UK Government aims to mainstream the value of nature across society by:

• facilitating greater local action to protect and improve nature;

• creating a green economy, in which economic growth and the health of our natural resources sustain each other, and markets, business and Government better reflect the value of nature;

• strengthening the connections between people and nature to the benefit of both; and

• showing leadership in the European Union and internationally, to protect and enhance natural assets globally.


The UK Govt  approach takes account of the National Ecosystem Assessment and the Lawton Report: Making Space for Nature


The UK Government aims to promote an ambitious, integrated approach, creating a resilient ecological network across England. It proposes to move from net biodiversity loss to net gain, by supporting healthy, well-functioning ecosystems and coherent ecological networks.

Growing a green economy

HM Treasury guidance on policy and project appraisal already highlights the importance of aiming to identify all environmental costs and benefits. Later in 2011, the UK Government will publish new supplementary guidance to HM Treasury’s Green Book for use by all Government Departments on valuing the natural environment in appraisals. This will cover techniques for monetary and non-monetary valuation and the need to take into account values from individuals, communities, businesses and other interested parties when undertaking environmental valuation


Economic growth and the natural environment are mutually compatible. Sustainable economic growth relies on services provided by the natural environment, often referred to as ‘ecosystem services’. Some of these are provided directly, such as food, timber and energy. Others are indirect, such as climate regulation, water purification and the productivity of soil.


The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study shows that protected natural areas can yield returns many times higher than the cost of their protection. There are multi-million pound opportunities available from greener goods and services, and from markets that protect nature’s services.


The UK Government will put natural capital at the centre of economic thinking economic thinking and at the heart of the way the way economic progress is measured nationally. Natural capital will be included within the UK Environmental Accounts. An independent Natural Capital Committee will be established to advise the UK Government on the state of natural capital in England.


Growing a green economy

• The UK Government will publish an action plan to expand markets and schemes in which payments are made by the beneficiary of a natural service to the provider of that service.

• The UK Government will set up a business-led Ecosystem Markets Task Force to review the opportunities for UK business from expanding the trade in green goods and the market for sustainable natural services.

• The UK Government will publish a review of waste policy later this year.

• The UK Government will issue new guidance for businesses by 2012 on how to measure and report corporate environmental impacts.


Reconnecting people and nature

• To help LAs use their new duties and powers on public health, Public Health England will publish practical evidence about improving health, including through access to a good natural environment.

• Barriers to learning outdoors will be removed

• ‘Local Green Areas’ designation to be created to protect the green areas for local people

• A Green Infrastructure Partnership to be established with civil society to support the development of green infrastructure in England.

• A new phase of the Muck In4Life campaign will be launched, offering volunteering opportunities to improve the quality of life in towns, cities and the countryside.

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