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“Nature has the power to unlock greater prosperity”

  • by JW

“The government’s 25 Year Environment Plan emphasises how dependent the economy is on the environment.”


The University of Exeter is a pretty important centre of research and know-how on the environment.

One of its professors, Prof Ian Bateman, has analysed climate change impacts on land use and agricultural emissions: University of Exeter plays a leading role in latest UK Climate Change Risk Assessment – Devon Live

As a member of the Natural Capital Committee, Prof Bateman has said careful thought needs to go into where trees are planted: Exeter uni professor warns tree planting could do more harm than good to environment – Devon Live

Last night he was part of an expert panel at a joint online event with Natural England, to explore why nature recovery and economic recovery are not mutually exclusive goals: Economic prosperity: is it actually in our Nature? » Green Alliance

Nature has the power to unlock greater prosperity and, rather than being a drain on resources, actually repays investment many times over by sustaining the public goods underpinning our way of life. We looked at how nature-based solutions can be embedded more profitably across national and local policy thinking.

Economic prosperity: is it actually in our Nature? – YouTube

And today Prof Bateman appeared in the Western Morning News:

Government plans harm the environment and the economy’, argues influential researcher

Recent government plans make neither environmental nor economic sense, one of Exeter’s leading academics will warn at a key environment event.

Professor Ian Bateman OBE was a member of the Natural Capital Committee that advised seven former Environment Secretaries, including Liz Truss and Michael Gove, on a host of environmental initiatives including the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This flagship environmental initiative emphasises how dependent the economy is on the environment and highlights that damage to the latter typically harms the former.

His pioneering research on ‘public money for public goods’, the idea that farm subsidies should be apportioned by how farmers’ land benefits the environment, is the cornerstone of the Environment Land Management Scheme and Environment Act 2021.

Articles | Business School | University of Exeter

The environmental press also carried the story:

Environment protections not ‘anti-growth’ and support the economy, researcher argues

Photo by Jeremy Bishop @ Environment Journal

‘Wherever you are right now, just look around you … all economic output is just one or two steps from its origin in the natural environment.’ Some areas of policy will not only ‘degrade and already degraded environment’, but ‘make absolutely no sense in terms of their economic impact’.

These include Investment Zones which are planned to boost economic growth through lower taxes and streamlined planning rules. But Professor Bateman argues environmental protections within the zones are likely to be watered down and competitiveness of areas outside the zones undermined.

He is also concerned about plans to ban solar projects from farmland and the 100 new drilling licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea, as he says it can take 13 years from initial exploration to land a barrel of oil. Renewable energy, on the other hand, already provides over 40% of the UK’s energy needs and is much cheaper than oil and gas…

Bateman played a crucial role in forming the Environment Land Management Scheme (ELMs), which subsidises farmland that benefits the environment, thanks to his research Public funding for public goods. He believes plans to review the ELMs are another example of ‘environmental destruction which makes no economic sense.’

Environment protections help the economy, researcher argues