The government's response to the Natural Capital Committee's sixth annual report

Table of contents

Opening remarks

The government is grateful for the expert advice the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has provided in its sixth annual report. The NCC is a world first and its expertise has placed us at the leading edge of natural capital thinking.

As a result of the NCC’s work, we:

  • better understand England’s natural assets and benefits we get from nature
  • recognise that the environmental assets that provide our clean air and water, opportunities for recreation, and our food and fibre, are an essential component of our nation’s infrastructure
  • are able to make better decisions about how we interact with and manage our natural environment to ensure its health and resilience
  • published the 25 Year Environment Plan (25 YEP), in 2018 - the first 25 YEP progress report, which will report on progress against the 25 YEP goals, has also been published
  • made progress in other areas including developing local natural capital planning approaches such as the Oxford – Cambridge Arc, natural capital accounting, and plans to better measure and protect marine natural capital

We agree with the Committee that in order to achieve the goals set out in the plan and meet the objective set in 2011 to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it, substantive action is essential.

Looking forward

The government would like to extend its gratitude to the NCC Chair, Professor Dieter Helm and the Committee members for their continued dedication and expertise. We have received world class independent advice on developing and implementing the 25 YEP and integrating a natural capital approach, which resonates across government and beyond.

This year, we have made good progress along this greener path and set out the next steps to ensure lasting change. As we continue to implement these early measures, it is essential that we monitor progress and continue to seek independent advice to strengthen and reinforce them where appropriate. The advice provided by the NCC will continue to be instrumental as we press ahead with our ambition of being the first generation to leave the environment in a better condition than we found it.