IEMA Members have said that the incoming UK Government must take a more strategic approach to rebuilding the UK’s natural capital in order to ensure delivery of critical national infrastructure – critical to the recovering economy - does not come at the cost of already fragile natural environments.

From 646 Members polled this month, 92% said that “significant new effort is needed” to improve and reverse the UK’s current rate of loss of biodiversity and natural habitats. 89% say that the swift introduction of a new Nature and Wellbeing Act is the solution to the issue and would enshrine a much-needed strategic approach in law.

88% of IEMA’s respondents said that natural environment valuation should be given a more prominent role in nationally significant decision-making, and that the next Government should strengthen the role of the Natural Capital Committee, increasing its responsibilities and resourcing so that it sits on a par with the Committee on Climate Change which was launched in 2008.

Nick Blyth, IEMA’s Lead on Sustainability, Climate Change and the Natural Environment says that taking a more strategic approach to managing and protecting the UK’s natural capital is about “valuation, not monetisation” of the UK’s land, rivers, wildlife and coastline: “The UK is in the privileged position of still having a wealth of natural capital which makes a real contribution to our recovering economy. However, if we are to retain our natural assets and wildlife, the next Government must be the first Parliament to create a Nature and Wellbeing Act” said Blyth.

IEMA’s results also found:

· 84% of Members back a call for Government intervention to create new partnerships between providers and beneficiaries of ecosystem services to generate landscape scale enhancement for catchments, soils and habitats across the UK.

· Only 23% believe that Public Authorities are actively addressing their duty to demonstrate regard for conserving biodiversity in all their actions.