Government nature strategy reveals green planning ideas

The draft 25-year Government Environment plan has been leaked to the BBC after being delayed several times over the last year.

The document is due to be delivered "in due course", possibly not until autumn, which could be because of Defra cuts and its focus on Brexit, and may not even be released before the Great Repeal Bill. Defra's similar 25-Year Plan for Farming is also yet to be published.

The report says: "Determining woodland planting locations using only timber values and foregone agricultural production suggests that new woodlands ought to be planted on the least productive agricultural land – mainly in the uplands. This policy gives £66m per year benefit.

"However considering carbon and recreational benefits, the highest values are closer to where people work and live. This gives £546m per year.

"Such analysis provides landowners with better information to inform their decisions."

The document suggests joined-up policy on flood prevention, water abstraction, irrigation, wildlife, and soil conservation and including the impact on the environment in all Government decisions.

It backs the £1.5m pocket parks fund, and looks at damage to the soil and the impact of fertilisers on the environment.

Other pledges include:

  • Our water will be cleaner and healthier
  • Our plants and wildlife will be healthier and our habitats better managed
  • Our air will be of better quality
  • Our seas will be cleaner
  • Our country will use resources more efficiently
  • Our country will develop a low carbon economy

A Defra spokesman said: "We are still committed to publishing the plan and have been engaging on issues with key stakeholders with a view to publishing in due course.

"Our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, and we are committed to publishing a long-term plan that builds on our long history of wildlife and environmental protection, and sets out a new approach to managing the environment.

"We're working closely with a range of environmental and conservation groups and businesses to develop proposals."

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