Helping nature help us can pull in serious money
Bold new ecosystem services schemes could be worth hundreds of millions to farmers
Natural land-management activities such as tree planting, river meandering and creaking leaky dams to reduce flooding, produce clean water and restore wildlife could be worth hundreds of millions to farmers, according to a recent report from the think tank Green Alliance and the National Trust.
The report proposes new National Infrastructure Schemes in which groups of farmers and land managers work together to sell ecosystem services to public authorities and water companies downstream.
Sue Armstrong-Brown, policy director at Green Alliance, says: "The old CAP subsidy-and-grant approach is inadequate to deal with the pressures on land and the realities of farm economics. The potential market for environmentally-beneficial farming could be worth millions - far more than the £400 million available to farmers through government agri-environment schemes. We need to make farming part of the way the environment is returned to health, and that means making good environmental management pay."
Green Alliance and the National Trust say they will be working alongside leading landowners and businesses over the next 12 months, preparing to introduce pilot Natural Infrastructure Schemes in the UK.