August 22, 2008

Audit Investigates Funding for Natural Resource Preservation

By Donatantonio, Domenic

Funding could be given to landowners who retain natural carbon storage areas under plans for an audit of England's natural resources announced this week. Environment secretary Hilary Benn has launched a two-year project to look into wildlife, habitats and ecosystems. The government will work with a range of different partners including the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission and Natural England.

RSPB director of conservation Mark Avery told Planning that the audit will be a national version of the worldwide millennium ecosystem assessment launched by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in 2000.

"We could see increased funding go to recognised ecosystems services. For example, farmers could be encouraged not to plough up peat bogs on their land where carbon is naturally stored," Avery said.

He added that planners could face different priorities as a result of the review: "The sector plans for new roads and towns but more should be done for wetlands and natural carbon stores."

Natural England chief scientist Tom Tew said: "An ecosystem assessment of England is the first important step in ascribing value to the services these provide and we welcome it."

Ecosystem: two-year project could reassess priorities

Copyright Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. Jul 25, 2008

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