The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has published its final response to the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan progress reports.
The report sets out the NCC’s natural capital asset-based framework for assessing progress against the 25 Year Environment Plan and highlights the priority areas the government should focus on to turnaround declines in natural assets. The Office for Environmental Protection will take up the role of independently scrutinising progress from 2021 using the framework set out in this report.
The Chair of the NCC, Professor Dieter Helm, warns that the 2020 progress report repeats many of the mistakes seen in the 2019 report, notably the lack of a of a natural capital baseline and little evidence of impact from a “long list of actions”.
The NCC recommends that Defra ensures that the planned Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment pilot focuses on identifying and measuring the extent and condition of all natural capital assets across England, incorporating citizen science. The Committee also urge the need for sufficient resourcing of this task at the next Spending review.