A University of Plymouth academic is part of a national committee who have called on the Government to enhance its vision for the environment.
Professor of Ocean and Society Mel Austen is a member of the Natural Capital Committee (NCC), which for almost a decade has advised the Government on natural capital, such as forests, rivers, minerals and oceans.
In its final report, being launched at today’s Natural Capital Conference, the NCC has highlighted how its work since 2012 has transformed the nation’s understanding of the importance of natural capital for economic prosperity and human wellbeing.
As a result, it adds, natural capital principles are fully entrenched into government policy, and are at the heart of new legislation including the Environment Bill and the Agriculture Bill.
Professor Austen was invited to join the NCC in 2018, after it identified the marine environment as being a particular asset at risk.
Since then, the NCC has published various advice papers and reports on marine management, highlighting success stories but also identifying where urgent and more detailed action was required.
In October 2020, it responded to the Government’s second report on progress against its 25-Year Environment Plan and concluded that very little progress had been made. It also presented its own framework for comprehensively measuring the state of the natural capital assets.