Environment Secretary George Eustice set out his vision earlier today on how environmental protections can better deliver both for people and nature after Brexit. He highlighted the government’s ambitions for a green nature-based recovery as well as a new £4 million investment for green social prescribing, and set out his ambitions for streamlining the environmental regulatory framework.
The speech was widely reported this morning, including in the Telegraph, Times, Sun, Daily Mail, the I, Express, Mirror, and Yorkshire Post. Coverage carried a particular focus on the plans for a new £4 million investment in green social prescribing – the concept of connecting with nature to help well-being and improved mental health.
In his speech, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
Leaving the EU table does not mean retreating from our role in the world. In fact it means we should redouble our efforts globally. Long before we joined the EU, the UK was a driving force in establishing other international conventions to help our natural environment.
He went on to say:
We know that a connection with nature contributes to well-being, and improved mental health. So starting this autumn, we’ll be investing a further £4m in a two-year pilot to bring green prescribing to four urban and rural areas that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus and then we want to scale that project up.
We want everyone to be able to access an accurate, centralised body of data on species populations so that taking nature into account is the first, speedy step to an application.
So today I can announce a £5m pilot on establishing a new Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment. At the heart of our approach is a simple premise. If we can improve the baseline understanding of habitats and species abundance across the country in every planning authority, then we can make better decisions towards achieving our vision to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.