UK 25 year environment plan: what is Nature’s value?

It is vital that the UK’s plan for protecting our environment recognises nature’s intrinsic value as well as the economic benefits it brings.

So argues ClientEarth’s economics and legal researcher Tom West, in an article for Wildlife and Countryside Link today.

The government is currently developing its 25 year plan for nature – to ensure England’s environment is maintained and improved. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is working with the Natural Capital Committee to develop this plan and has stated that it intends to ensure nature “continues to underpin our economic success and wellbeing.”

Tom West says: “The government’s currently drawing up a 25-year environment plan for England, which is going to have a strong focus on the idea of natural capital.

“Natural Capital is about using economic tools to work out the contribution nature makes to our economy and our well-being. These kind of tools can be really useful in helping us to protect the environment.

“But it’s also important to realise that economic values can’t capture all of nature’s value. Nature has intrinsic value; it has value for its own sake.

“So it’s important the 25-year environment plan endorses the fact that the need to protect the natural world isn’t dependent on an economic justification.”

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Michael Haines

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