Major impacts on vital natural environment work are likely – through the loss of a third of Defra’s budget1 – so The Wildlife Trusts urge the Government to ensure the remaining investment achieves the greatest benefits for the environment.
Today’s review could provide the opportunity to identify where Government investment could achieve greatest value for money. The Wildlife Trusts believe a healthy natural environment is the cornerstone of a healthy economy and a healthy society. Government, private and voluntary sectors and wider society all have a role in helping to create a healthy natural environment.
Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“We are pleased to hear the environmental stewardship schemes will remain open to all farmers in England and the proportion of the programme spent through the Higher Level Scheme (HLS) is to be increased.
“What funding is available needs to be targeted effectively. For example, Local Wildlife Sites could have a real role to play in the establishment of an ecologically coherent network. Across England, there are at least 40,000 Local Wildlife Sites. Often they cover 8-10percent of a county’s land area. Collectively they play a critical role by providing wildlife refuges and by acting as stepping stones to link and protect the suite of nationally and internationally designated sites.
“We must find ways to support the recovery of the natural environment in the long term, which are cost effective, sustainable and which recognise its true value. Investing in the recovery of the natural environment and the natural services it provides is a sound investment for the future.”