The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has published its views on what the Government's 25 year environment plan should contain a few days ago. You can read it here.
The NCC makes clear that the scale of the task is huge if we are to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.
It is widely acknowledged that the UK is overdrawn on its 'environmental bank balance' and that we have built up a huge deficit which we need to pay off. We've taken and used the natural resources on which we depend at a faster rate than they can be renewed.
The most serious consequence of the way we have mistreated the natural environment is the well-documented and desperate loss of wildlife and wild places. Our ancient woodlands, heaths, bogs, wetlands and undersea habitats are continuing to be lost to inappropriate development despite the protections that they are supposed to enjoy. Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other hugely important wild areas are threatened by HS2 – potentially 500 wildlife sites will be affected directly and indirectly along this new train route - and by other projects such as a new motorway across the Gwent Levels. The uplands on which we depend for clean water, carbon storage and flood control are degraded. More than a quarter of British birds are on the ‘red list’ of species under conservation concern including curlew, nightingale and puffin.
Thus, the need is great. In response, the NCC has produced a comprehensive and well thought-through package of measures which strike at many of the causes of the problems.
This report is a breath of fresh air for those of us who care passionately about the natural world. We are a part of nature - and everything we need comes from it. So getting this right is critically important if, like me, you care deeply about the future health and happiness of humanity.