To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the merits of (a) rewilding and (b) other natural methods to tackle climate change.
10 June 2019
The concept of rewilding has a variety of characteristics and definitions applied to the term. Nature-based solutions are key to tackling climate change and averting its impacts. The Government is deploying such solutions to improve our natural environment.
The government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out key policies on how improving nature can help tackle climate change.
Under the new Environmental Land Management Scheme we will pay public money for the provision of environmental public goods. These public goods will include the mitigation of and adaption to climate change.
Tree planting is one of the main contributors to nature-based carbon sequestration and the Government supports this in a number of ways. Our manifesto committed to planting 11 million trees by 2022, and in addition a further 1 million trees in our towns and cities, and we also have a long term aspiration to increase woodland cover from 10% to 12% by 2060. To achieve these goals, in the Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced £10 million for an Urban Trees Challenge Fund and £50 million to help plant new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.
Peatlands are our largest terrestrial carbon store. We have committed to publishing an England Peatland Strategy. The strategy will set out our vision to reverse decline in peatlands and restore them. Work is underway on four large-scale peatland restoration projects across England, to which we have allocated £10 million, and will restore 5,851 ha of degraded peatlands. We are also improving satmarshes.
Natural England has an ongoing uplands programme with landowners and we will also be setting up a Lowland Agricultural Peatland Taskforce to help sustainably manage and restore peatland habitats. Once restored, our healthy functioning peatlands will provide a range of public benefits in addition to carbon storage, including flood mitigation and biodiversity rich habitats.
We also support nature-based solutions through our international aid programmes on forestry and mangroves/blue forests.