The Wildlife Trust calls on all government departments to unlock the benefits of nature to society.
In a new report published today (June 4), The Wildlife Trusts reveal highlight that restoring nature can bring wide-ranging benefits to society, help to reduce carbon emissions and help to rebuild the economy.
The report argues that taking a transformational approach to nature will create more jobs, ensure that land and sea are properly managed and enable people to live happier, healthier lives.
According to the report, government spending on biodiversity has shrunk by 33% over five years even though big promises have been made to restore 30% of land for nature by 2030.
The authors call for a £1bn per year funding package to restore nature at scale.
They state that all areas of government, locally and nationally, can benefit from working with nature. For example, new housing developments should integrate nature into designs for new housing whilst also making communities more attractive.
A vast majority of evidence also links access to nature with better health. Therefore, equal access to wild places is vital because such places provide a natural health service.
Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says: ‘Ultimately, our economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of nature and not the other way around.
‘Everything we hold dear – our health, homes and livelihoods – depends on what nature provides. It’s time we recognise this and behave accordingly.
‘Nature is our strongest ally in building a resilient recovery after Covid-19 – but for too long decisions have come at the expense of the natural world, and the amount we spend on activities that damage nature still far outstrips our spending to restore it.
‘We must halt old-fashioned business-as-usual, and stop wasting public money on the polluting infrastructure of the past, such as £27bn on new roads, and invest instead in green infrastructure. This means restoring wild places for wildlife, flood prevention, storing carbon, and to improve our physical and mental wellbeing.
‘Rather than proposed measures to weaken our planning system, we need it strengthened so that it stops badly planned developments and rewards good development that protects and enhances nature and improves peoples’ lives. The next ten years must be a time of renewal, of rewilding our lives, of green recovery – not just more of the same old thinking.’