‘Nature should play a starring role in the ten-point plan’, says CPRE

19th November 2020

The Prime Minister has announced a new ten-point plan intended to tackle climate change as we urge that nature-based solutions be maximised.

Boris Johnson’s new plan signals a move towards renewable energy and an emphasis on private sector investment to spur innovation around schemes such as carbon capture.

But we’re keen to stress that a lot of accessible and impactful means to mitigate against climate change lie close to home, in the very nature and landscapes in which we live.

Nature and technology combined

As our campaigns and policy director, Tom Fyans, notes:

‘While new technology is rightly being rolled out across the country to slash emissions, the government should also be getting back to basics and harnessing the potential of the countryside to soak up carbon emissions and prevent runaway climate change.’

Here at CPRE, we’re passionate about seeing the incredible power of the countryside deployed to address the ever-worsening climate emergency. Too often, climate solutions that would work for nature and our green places as well as supporting the economy are being overlooked.

‘The government should be getting back to basics and harnessing the potential of the countryside.’
Tom Fyans, CPRE campaigns and policy director

Tom points out that ‘hedgerows, peatlands, trees, grasslands and many other parts of our countryside store vast amounts of carbon.’ These are almost overlooked in today’s ten points.

But considerations of their usefulness are more timely than ever when just hours after the ten-point plan was released, MPs are debating a long-awaited ban on the burning of moorlands – the very areas that when cared for, safely lock away over three billion tonnes of carbon.

CPRE has long called for better protections for these incredible landscapes, which, as well as securing carbon – earning them the nickname of the ‘UK’s rainforests’ – they also offer a habitat for many vulnerable species.

Only part of the low-energy picture

The Prime Minister’s ten points show great ambition around energy uses, including a fresh focus on ensuring existing homes are made as energy-efficient as possible. Better fittings, keeping our homes cosier in winter and comfortable in the summer, and new uses of technology to cut the amount of wasted energy are all things that we support – but there’s a wider picture here, too.

Cutting emissions isn’t just about reducing leaked heat or installing more efficient boilers. We’d like to see the government widen the vision towards the other green ways that our lives could all be enhanced.

The new schemes need to look at the bigger picture of how we live our lives and also consider opportunities to tackle fuel poverty, improve the quality of the air we breathe and improve public transport to name but a few. Without looking holistically, chances to enhance our lives and the environment risk being missed.

Don’t forget the countryside

We’re delighted to see that these plans aim to give the country’s economy a much-needed boost, and should bring real benefits to communities everywhere. These were some of the principles we were hoping to see in a green recovery from the coronavirus.

‘We’re urging the government not to forget the treasure trove of ways that nature and the countryside can aid the battle.’

But we’re urging the government not to forget the treasure trove of ways that nature and the countryside can aid the battle to address the climate emergency. As Tom says, ‘It’s never been clearer that more needs to be done to grab the low-hanging fruit that are nature-based solutions’.

We’re ready to see real action to address the climate crisis, the greatest threat to our countryside and our communities. We’ll keep talking to government to make the case for solutions that work with and for our green spaces. Be a part of it.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
Photo by Illiya Vjestica on Unsplash