We are working on a plan to unlock more and better investment in the natural environment. First – on how we make existing funds work harder. Then, unlocking new funds. This means helping organisations understand how they already rely on – or could benefit from – the natural environment. This could be building coalitions of businesses with shared interests in degrading natural assets to collectively invest in their restoration. Or helping professionalise and upscale the already vibrant but largely voluntary or grant-reliant ‘green care’ movement through commissioning support.
In 2018, WENP completed research – funded by Defra and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership – proposing a new approach to unlocking more and better investment in the natural environment through a regional Natural Capital Trust. The Trust would combine funds from developer contributions, conservation funds and payments for ecosystem service schemes – and invest them across a portfolio of environmental projects that deliver the greatest benefits to the region.
A new CIL-like Compensation Scheme is proposed as a more strategic way to make more effective use of developer contributions. In this model, developers would pay into a fund in lieu of the loss of ecosystem services arising from development in exchange for reducing the time and money related to their negotiations around protected species and habitat.
The proposed Natural Capital Trust model is highlighted as an example of local innovation in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. Once published, we will add the research report and summary document below.