WEET - Next steps for natural capital protection and restoration in England - policy, implementation and achieving the potential

Date: 15th June 2021

Location: Online


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Guy Horsington, Deputy Director, Environment Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan, Defra

Alastair Johnson, Senior Economic Adviser, Defra

Alan Law, Deputy Chief Executive, Natural England

and

Ian Dickie, eftec; Yvette de Garis, Thames Water; Dr Alison Holt, Natural Capital Solutions; Dr Bruce Howard, Ecosystems Knowledge Network; Sarah Mukherjee, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment; Stephen Prior, Forest Carbon; and Claire Wansbury, Atkins

[full chair and speaker details]

This conference will consider the policy priorities and next steps for protecting and restoring natural capital in England.

 

The conference will be an opportunity to discuss a range of developments in this key area of focus for policy and analysis, including the Environment Bill, the Agriculture Act and the Economics of Biodiversity Dasgupta Review.

 

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from Guy Horsington, Deputy Director, Environment Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan, Defra and Alastair Johnson, Senior Economic Adviser, Defra; as well as from Alan Law, Deputy Chief Executive, Natural England.

 

Areas for discussion include:

  • the state of natural capital assets and resilience in England
  • government support and guidance on restoration projects, and contributing to the net-zero transition
  • land management policy and opportunities for growing natural carbon sequestering
  • improving the economic and business case for natural capital protection
  • setting and enforcing effective environmental standards
  • opportunities for nature-based job creation
  • policy priorities for enabling nature-based economic recovery, and the 25 Year Environment Plan

The agenda: [taking place online - further details]

Draft subject to change

 

 

Registration

 

 

9.00

Chair’s opening remarks

Senior Parliamentarian

 

 

9.05

Assessing the state of natural capital assets and resilience in England, and policy priorities going forward

Alan Law, Deputy Chief Executive, Natural England

Questions and comments from the floor

 

 

9.30

Break

 

 

9.35

Natural capital in the context of a green economic recovery - what is needed from government support, in guidance on restoration projects, and for natural resources contribute meaningfully to a net-zero transition

Dr Bruce Howard, Director, Ecosystems Knowledge Network

Stephen Prior, Director, Forest Carbon

Senior representative, restoration project

 

 

9.55

Translating environmental action into nature-based jobs growth - strategies for collaboration across key stakeholder and local groups, and with partners in the environmental supply

Sarah Mukherjee, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

Ian Dickie, Director, eftec

Senior representative, local authority

 

 

10.15

Questions and comments from the floor

 

 

10.35

Chair’s closing remarks

Senior Parliamentarian

 

 

10.40

Break

 

 

10.50

Chair’s opening remarks

Senior Parliamentarian

 

 

10.55

Land management policy and opportunities for enabling large-scale natural carbon sequestering - priorities for nature-based solutions and the provision of public goods

Senior speaker, environmental stewardship

Questions and comments from the floor

 

 

11.20

Delivering economic value from ecosystem services, and improving the economic and business case for natural capital protection

Dr Alison Holt, Director, Natural Capital Solutions

Yvette de Garis, Head of Environmental Engagement, Thames Water

Claire Wansbury, Associate Director, Ecology, Atkins

 

 

11.35

Setting effective environmental standards - regulation, enforcement and natural capital protection

Senior representative, legal

Senior academic

 

 

11.50

Questions and comments from the floor

 

 

12.15

Break

 

 

12.20

Natural capital protection and restoration as part of the 25 Year Environment Plan - policy priorities for enabling nature-based economic recovery

Guy Horsington, Deputy Director, Environment Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan, Defra

Alastair Johnson, Senior Economic Adviser, Defra

Questions and comments from the floor

 

 

12.55

Chair’s and Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum closing remarks

Senior Parliamentarian

Jack Longman, Senior Researcher, Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

[Book Online]


Key areas for discussion:

supporting a green economic recovery

  • policy priorities - setting clear guidance on natural capital preservation and tying together with a green economic recovery, including:
    • identifying resource and location specific environmental deficiencies in England
    • best practice for restoration project design
    • providing guidance on delivery
  • harnessing natural capital - looking at opportunities as part of a green economic recovery, including:
    • establishing a foundation for long-term nature-based resilience
    • reducing costs of climate change adaptation
    • accelerating input from economy-wide stakeholders
  • sector jobs and skills growth - addressing challenges in the natural environment sector, including:
    • scaling up cooperation between local authorities, nature managers, and the private sector
    • creating clarity on the long-term scope of restoration projects
    • developing the domestic base for environment-based supply chains
  • the net-zero agenda - enabling natural capital projects to support the net-zero transition, looking at how best to expand natural carbon sequestering, increase resource use sustainability, and develop nature-based climate change adaptation and mitigation measures

 

government policy

  • priorities:
    • coordinating central strategies, such as the 25 Year Environment Plan
    • and what is needed from the environmental and natural capital sectors to help support long-term environment goals
  • environmental and natural capital objectives - next steps for achieving long-term goals, including how best to:
    • design and work towards legally binding targets
    • support long-term habitat and species restoration
    • identify specific needs for resource improvements such as water, peatland and marine quality
  • environmental standards and governance - addressing issues and priorities for effective regulation, including:
    • stakeholder accountability
    • effective rules for coordinating natural capital improvements
    • tightening responsibilities of sector-wide participants
  • recent reform to England’s land-management rules - how benefits for natural capital can be achieved, looking at:
    • the scope of incentive schemes for protecting and restoring natural resources
    • increasing provision of and access to public goods
    • creating a framework that rewards long-term natural restoration

 

the economics of natural capital use - assessing the case for protection and restoration in England, and how measurable value from ecosystem services can be achieved:

  • inclusion in general economic accounting - priorities, including:
    • steps for quantifying value, and integrating non-economic values of natural resources into analysis
    • reconsidering the scope of economic modelling to include environmental assets, and ensuring it is fit for purpose
  • funding and investment - assessing how best to de-risk investment for private investors and stakeholders, as well as looking at how to:
    • widen collaboration across local authorities and organisations
    • demonstrate long-term value for resource users
    • capture the benefits of sustainable and clean resources and species resilience

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A scan of relevant developments:

  • the Environment Bill 2020:
    • continuing the transposition of European environmental regulation into UK lawe
    • establishing long-term governance, accountability and targets for environmental improvement in the UK
    • seeking to provide further clarity and powers for the newly created Office of Environmental Protection
  • the Agriculture Act 2020
    • providing a legal framework for land management and agriculture support systems following Brexit
    • aiming to enhance environment and land use through additional funds for public goods, such as better treatment of environmental and natural resources, and animal welfare
  • the Green Recovery Challenge Fund - £40m in support for:
    • environmental charities and partners in conservation and restoration projects
    • schemes for adapting to and mitigating climate change
    • creating green jobs across the natural environment
  • The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review - with Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta suggesting how policymakers and economists can better preserve species and natural resources, integrate these factors into economic accounting and development, and translate natural capital protection into financial value
  • the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund - providing a share of £10m towards nature-based projects that tackle climate change, restore natural resources, and mobilise long-term private sector investment in the environment
  • the Prime Minister’s commitment to protect 30% of UK land for biodiversity and conservation, and reduce the scale of environmental degradation
  • Natural England: Building partnerships for Nature’s recovery - a Government policy paper outlining priorities for working with different public and private partners to scale up nature protection and recovery
  • Natural Capital Committee’s end of term report - outlining the Committee’s achievements since inception, including crafting the scope of a 25 Year Environment Plan, and underlining the needs of future legislation like the Environment Bill and Agriculture Bill for establishing legally binding targets for keeping the Government on course to reach environmental priorities, as part of the 25 Year Plan
  • the Nature Recovery Network - aimed at creating a network of legislatures, sector partners, funders and others to leverage policy guidance and funding for a more effective way at improving natural, climate and biodiversity goals

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