We need the heating of the planet to be kept below 1.5C to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate breakdown. It’s no longer enough just to reduce carbon emissions. We also need to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Nature is our greatest ally in locking carbon away and protecting our climate. Rewilding can help nature recover on a massive scale and shape a better future for people. Under a new rewilding proposal, a significant contribution towards cutting the nation’s carbon emissions to zero could be achieved if a quarter of the UK’s land was restored to nature.
This new plan, initially published by Rewilding Britain, calls for billions of pounds in farm subsidies to be redirected towards creating native meadows and woodlands and further protecting salt marshes and peat bogs. The groups claims that not wildlife and the local ecosystems would greatly benefit, whilst farmers would not lose money and food production would not need to fall.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is in favour of natural solutions to the climate crisis and huge losses to wildlife, and the government has pledged that after the UK leaves the EU’s subsidy regime, “public money [will be] spent on public goods.”
Currently these subsidies total £3bn a year, with 13% going towards environmental schemes. The new plan anticipates £1.9bn being used to support action on global heating and wildlife. The scheme would create 2m hectares (4.94m acres) of species-rich meadows, 2m hectares of new woodland, and ensure protection of the UK’s 2m hectares of peat bogs and heaths.
These ecosystems would absorb and store carbon dioxide equivalent to 10% of the UK’s annual emissions. The government’s official climate advisers reported this month that UK emissions must fall to zero by 2050. But the Committee on Climate Change said some activities, such as flying, would still cause emissions, meaning tree growing and other measures to suck CO2 from the air are vital in reversing climate change.
The idea of Rewilding is already underway within the planning system, as the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan has embedded Net Gain for Biodiversity within the system. The aim is to ensure that all new development work restores biodiversity to a site, with costs and tariffs used for those that do not meet the requirements.
Developments would aim to provide an overall improvement of at least 10%, measured in biodiversity units. This is however a recommended suggestion and we hope that many developers would strive to have as large an increase in biodiversity net gain as possible. If however a developer is unable to mitigate or compensate for the loss in biodiversity, they would be required to pay into a central fund allocated for improving the natural environment elsewhere in England.
We hope that the envionmental and economic benefits from Net Gain for Biodiversity will be used effectively towards the plan published by Rewilding Britain, decarbonising the United Kindom and protecting the environment for years to come.
At Ethical Partnership, our business is focused around our values. In everything that we do, we seek to protect and conserve the natural environment and finite resources of the planet and reflect this in the way we advise our clients, design schemes and select our partners.
We offer a comprehensive range of ecology and landscape services to both public and private sector clients to enable them to design developments and other schemes that are sensitive to the needs of wildlife, landscape and habitats. We help our clients protect and conserve local and global environmental resources, have been successful in securing standard and bespoke environmental permits and have an excellent working relationship with the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
With such as vast range of experience, no planning consultancy is better suited to tackle the Climate Crisis as we are. So contact us today for a quote and we can work out how to best help you achieve your planning goals and together protect the environment for future generations.