NCC ‘The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) is warning that there is little evidence of progress and worrying evidence of declines in its latest assessment of how the government is performing against its own ten 25 Year Environment Plan (YEP) goals.
The warning comes in the NCC’s new assessment of the government’s second Progress Report for 2020 which sets out how the government is performing against the ten 25 YEP goals.
The analysis by the independent advisory committee, which was established to provide advice to the government on the sustainable use of natural capital, paints a largely negative picture of the Government’s progress over the last year. Commenting in the foreword to the NCC’s Interim Response to the 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report and advice on a green economic recovery, Professor Dieter Helm, Chairman said:
“The Committee provided an assessment of the government’s first Progress Report in 2019. In the absence of a natural capital baseline, the Progress Report focused on a long list of actions, with very little evidence of improvements in the state of our natural capital.”
“The 2020 Progress Report repeats many of these mistakes and the integrated, system based approach the 25 YEP demands is at real risk of being lost. The report continues to reflect these fundamental weaknesses, and again is unable to provide an assessment of progress, of which there has been very little.”
“Nine of the 25 years have already passed and it is now looking very likely the next generation will inherit a poorer set of natural assets.”
According to Professor Helm, the NCC is “seriously concerned” about the absence of appropriate metrics to measure environmental performance.
The Committee has previously advised the government that it is crucial to use the right framework and metrics or risk “multiple policy failures”- including the success of the 25 YEP, all future Environmental Improvement Plans, the delivery of Environmental Land Management schemes and environmental net gain.
The NCC’s interim response covers four areas:
i) provides an initial assessment of overall progress to the extent that is possible;
ii) explains why the reporting framework and indicators used by the government to provide evidence of progress need reworking;
iii) sets out an alternative natural capital asset-based framework for assessing progress, and;
iv) highlights the opportunity to realise the significant economic benefits from investing in natural capital assets and delivering the 25 YEP in a more cost-effective way as part of a resilient green recovery from COVID-19.’