Hidden value of nature revealed

The natural environment is worth billions of pounds to the UK economy and must be better protected, according to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA).  The report strengthens the arguments for protecting and enhancing the environment and will be used by the government to direct policy in future.

Many people may believe that caring for the environment means extra financial burdens, but the UK NEA shows that there are real economic reasons for looking after nature.  It also shows that the benefits we get to our health, well being and from the enjoyment of nature have not always been fully appreciated or valued.

The assessment provides economic values for a range of services that the ecosystem gives us for free to help us fully understand the value of the natural environment and how the benefits to individuals and society as a whole can be better protected and preserved for future generations.

The UK NEA shows that the tendency to focus only on the market value of resources we can use and sell, such as timber, crops and fisheries, has led to the decline of some ecosystems and habitats through pollution, over-exploitation, and land conversion.

See the Defra press release here and the NEA report here.

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