Influential Conservative environmentalist Ben Goldsmith on rewilding, garden centres and policy

Ben Goldsmith and Matthew Appleby

Financier and environmentalist Ben Goldsmith joins this week's Horticulture Week podcast.

He was a Defra non-executive board member from 2018-22, where he was involved in the Environmental Land Management scheme, the Nature for Climate Fund and the Species Reintroductions task force.

Goldsmith is chair of the influential Conservative Environment Network.

His new book is titled God Is An Octopus: Loss, Love and a Calling to Nature an inspiring story of finding comfort and strength in nature after suffering the loss of his daughter.

Ben set about rewilding his farm, nature became a vital source of meaning and hope.

He tells us what the term rewilding means to him and tackles Alan Titchmarsh's comments that appear to be opposed to rewilding.

He explains his comments on the Border Target Operator Model, where he wrote in the FT: "Anything which makes it more difficult to import naff, exotic flowers and other plants into Britain is good news in my opinion. 

"There’s plenty to buy in garden centres without the imported potted plants which offer nothing to wildlife, look like something from the 1980s, often spread beyond the garden in which they’re planted, and sometimes bring parasites or disease."

He says there's a risk about "naff" exotics and recommends meadow plants and crab apples instead.

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