Public funds for nature


publicly owned land can be very valuable for nature

Public Funds for Nature

While people may feel instinctively connected to nature in the private space of their garden, it is the public realm where the connection between society (collectively) and nature is most open to influence, with opportunities to strengthen that connection.

This could be applied to publicly owned land, whether it be a local authority-owned park, Forestry Commission land, National Nature Reserves, or land managed by Government departments such as the 240,000ha owned by the Ministry of Defence. Collectively Government departments own and manage a large area of land of the greatest value for nature.

Nature is constantly affected by decisions made on how to spend public money, either through Council Tax, through public expenditure and through the provision of subsidies (for farming for example). People Need Nature sees an opportunity to strengthen the connection between People and Nature by promoting an approach to the management of public land and the development of policies, which places the needs of nature at the heart of the decision-making process. “

In the last 70 years Nature has tended to fare better on public land than on private land. This is often an accident of history, whereby the land use of public land has tended to be less intensive than on private land. What this means is that public land is generally more valuable for nature now than private land is, and society has a greater opportunity to influence the future of nature on public land than on private land. Nature on public land may also be more accessible to the public than on private land, providing opportunities for the public to benefit from the experience of that nature. PNN will work with the public owners of land to improve the public benefit derived from the nature on publicly owned land. PNN will also work with public bodies to ensure that the public benefit derived from nature is enhanced by their decisions, whether that be through regulation or incentive, and particularly the rules that govern the way public funds are spent.

For Nature in the Public Realm we will work with orthodox conservation charities and join existing networks where they will clearly provide a benefit. We will work closely with the new charity Rewilding Britain, which seeks to move away from an approach focusing on species and habitats, towards a future where ecological processes are unfettered from human land (and sea) management and exploitation. We will also work with Green Alliance on their new nature campaign and build a new partnership to develop a new system for the provision of public support for sustainable land management practices.