Agriculture: Nature Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 27 March 2024.

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Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help farmers secure long term private finance for nature restoration.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

As we set out in our Agricultural Transition Plan update in January, we want farmers and land managers to be able to confidently and securely access payments from both the public and private sector for the environmental benefits they produce.

The Government is:

  • supporting farmer-led innovation through Round 3 of the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund and two rounds of Landscape Recovery. These schemes will further test how nature markets and private investment can work with public funds and provide examples of how farmers can access both sources of income and deliver more for the environment.
  • developing standards for high integrity private investment into nature through the BSI nature investment standards programme.
  • committing £30 million of investment into a blended finance Big Nature Impact Fund, which will unlock significant private investment into UK nature projects (e.g. tree planting) that can provide a return on investment.
  • designing the environmental land management offer to make it easier for farmers to identify what private sector income they can access alongside any public payments.
  • helping farmers with advice and support on accessing nature markets; for example, Defra supported the Green Finance Institute to develop a Farming Toolkit for Assessing Nature Market Opportunities, which was published in January.
  • exploring with industry representatives ways to provide clarity on the taxation of nature markets.

We published an update on 12 March on progress to implement other measures in the Nature Markets Framework, and we will consult on specific steps and interventions needed to support growth of high integrity carbon and nature markets in the coming months.

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