Big nature impact fund

Big nature impact fund

If you have heard of the Big Nature Impact Fund (BNIF) then you will be more switched on to the news around the emerging public/private sector markets in natural capital and nature based environmental solutions than we were. It is a reasonably safe assumption that many people will have missed the reply that Rebecca Pow (then Defra minister) gave to a written question in the House of Commons about how much of the £30m Defra BNIF budget would be allocated to protecting and restoring Britain’s temperate rainforests that referenced the BNIF procurement document that was launched in November 2021 and closed in January 2022. It is also a pretty safe assumption that the same people may have missed the announcement (at bullet point 3 of paragraph 2.119 on page 72 of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021) of a £30 million public investment in a Big Nature Impact Fund.

For those who need a reminder,  the BNIF has the following policy objectives:
1. Create a legacy of investor confidence in ecosystem services markets by demonstrating the viability of investments at scale.
2. Further develop and pilot new business models for ecosystem services.
3. Increase viability of more natural environment projects.
4. Leverage private finance to increase rates of tree planting, woodland creation, peatland restoration, and habitat creation.
5. Realise the benefits of nature-based solutions, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity gains, water quality improvements, natural flood management, and the associated social and economic benefits.
6. Generate and share knowledge of ecosystem services market models, to enable the development of a pipeline of nature-based projects.

The news yesterday (2 November 2022) is that Defra has appointed its preferred fund managers who will now commence engagement with investors and project developers.

All of the above still looks far off and of academic interest only to individual farmers who remain starved of and hungry for information as to how they are going to be able access the promised new income streams to replace their rapidly diminishing BPS payments and avoid financial and social meltdown. Those farmers will be hoping that the new government will recognise the need for the utmost urgency in introducing the regulations and other interventions required to enable them to access the new sources of funding.

The statement that Defra will set out further details on the fund and Defra’s investment “in due course” does not indicate that Defra recognises and understands the need for urgency.



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