Responding to the Chancellor’s One-Year Spending Review detailed today, Wildlife and Countryside Link said the effort to avert a nature and climate crisis had been left on ice.
Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “The world has been gripped by a pandemic caused by our broken relationship with the natural world. Yet nature has also given millions of people solace and respite in lockdown, while lack of access to nature has left others stranded. This surely should have been Defra’s year to step out of the doldrums of low Departmental funding, with decisive investment to boost green jobs and avert the nature and climate crises. Yet Defra remains on the lowest rung of Government spending, with another year lost in the effort to turn round nature’s decline. Unless significant and sustained investment is made in nature, climate and environment targets will remain out of reach and on ice. The Chancellor and the PM have shown clear ambition for a green recovery, with twelve billion pounds to green our energy and transport mix. But this isn’t enough to reach Net Zero and is around a third of the investment some other countries are making. While reducing our carbon emissions is one side of the equation, we also need to dramatically boost funding for natural carbon capturing to get our emissions to add up to less than 1.5 degrees of warming. Restoring nature offers a win on all fronts, providing cleaner air and a cooler climate, boosting public health, tackling flooding and degraded soils, ensuring the healthy natural resources farming and other industries need, creating green jobs, and helping wildlife. We will need to see a major increase in funding for nature during the green super year in 2021 to demonstrate the ambition needed to be a world environmental leader.”