Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the latest budget today in Parliament. He said that: “The Budget lays the foundations for a strong recovery and greener economy, levelling up the country and spreading prosperity across every part of the UK.”
However, there is practically nothing in the budget for biodiversity.
There is investment in unproven technology to reduce carbon emissions in the future, but no mention of the proven answer to the climate emergency through restoring nature. Yes, we need a mix of solutions to the climate emergency, but habitat restoration and creation (nature-based solutions) should be central to this.
Nature-based solutions provide an opportunity to address many issues that have become more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as job creation and human health and well-being.
Given the recent publication of the Dasgupta Review, which makes plain the need for healthy and functional natural systems to underpin our society and economy, it is even more surprising that biodiversity is not addressed in the budget.
The Dasgupta Review is mentioned in the supplemental Build Back Better document, but it focuses mainly on international rather than domestic action. Biodiversity Net Gain and Local Nature Recovery Strategies get a mention but no extra funding.
The major emphasis on development and infrastructure in the budget also misses out on an opportunity to ensure that biodiversity expertise is available now and in future generations to facilitate the delivery of sustainable development and infrastructure that works with nature.
For those interested in natured-based solutions, our virtual Irish Conference on 20-21 April is on Nature Based Solutions: Opportunities in a time of biodiversity crisis and climate emergency.