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The inescapable truth: Brexit, business and natural capital

last modified Jan 05, 2018 05:17 PM
5 January 2018 – The Natural Capital Impact Group welcomes UK post-Brexit agriculture plans but calls for more collaboration with business and academic experts to achieve a policy that is fit for the future.

Yesterday, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove set out the Government’s vision for its policy towards agriculture and rural land and plans to replace the Common Agricultural Policy after the UK leaves the European Union. This includes a scheme that rewards natural capital approaches, which will replace the current subsidy regime that focuses on farmers’ land ownership.  

The inclusion of natural capital in this debate is fundamental for both public and private sectors and signals an important change in direction from the Government.

The points made by the Secretary of State to deliver a ‘Green Brexit’ by building natural capital thinking into future subsidy mechanisms echo recent policy recommendations proposed by CISL’s Natural Capital Impact Group following a consultation with the Group’s members and a number of UK policymakers and academics. A key recommendation was a ‘Rural Policy’ that delivers the greatest total value from our lands and could include payments to farmers for renewing natural capital assets like forestry and wetlands which have wider societal benefits.

Mr Gove’s speech recognised that without action we face the progressive loss of the natural capital on which all growth – natural, human and economic – ultimately depends.

Gemma Cranston, CISL’s Programme Director for Natural Resource Security Portfolio said,

“If we are to achieve the Secretary of State’s commitment to a Green Brexit by 'ensuring we leave the environment in a better condition than we found it', it is vital that Government engages the private sector in this debate.”

She continued, “In order to achieve a policy that is fit for the future, the government must build a rural policy that goes beyond food sectors to include other land users and managers of natural capital. To do this it should engage with progressive businesses, such as those in the Natural Capital Impact Group, to ensure that policy recommendations align with the drivers and expectations of the private sector. Through collaborations with businesses, academic experts, land owners and farmers we can protect and enhance the natural resources on which we all depend.”


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Gemma Cranston

Dr Gemma Cranston, Director, Natural Capital

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