Patrick Begg, Outdoors and Natural Resources Director at the National Trust reacts to the Chancellor's mini-budget and plans for re-starting the UK economy.
“The Chancellor’s announcements fail to meet the scale of ambition needed to tackle the nature and climate crises. With the Prime Minister also proposing radical changes to the planning system, which safeguards heritage and nature, we question how they live up to Government promises about building back greener. Lockdown has reminded us how important nature and green space is to people – and how unequal access to it is. Our research shows a £5.5BN investment in green infrastructure is needed to tackle these inequalities and unlock huge economic benefits, so it is disappointing that this wasn’t reflected in today’s speech. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is good news and means previously promised money for nature and climate will be available sooner. But £40 million represents only a fraction of the scale of the challenge we face in restoring nature across the country – conservation charities together recently highlighted the need for a £350M fund to ensure existing nature projects can go ahead. The £3 billion package for energy efficiency is a great first step to meeting the Government's manifesto commitments. However, with 22 per cent of England's housing stock built before 1919, a specific plan is needed for the rollout of appropriate measures for traditional and historic buildings.”