The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has published a discussion paper looking at how infrastructure development can contribute to protecting the country’s natural environment.
Natural capital refers to a range of natural assets and services that society and the economy depend on, including the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the wild places many of us visit to relax. Natural capital has declined in recent decades, with increasing numbers of habitats and species on the verge of extinction, and an increasing risk of invasive species. Infrastructure both contributes to and is impacted by this decline but can also help reverse it.
The NIC intends to put the Environmental Net Gain approach “at the heart of a new set of natural capital principles… to help guide future infrastructure developments.”
The NIC has also pledged to consider the importance of natural capital as an integral part of its next National Infrastructure Assessment.