A healthy natural environment provides us with vital resources and services, from the water we drink to the insects that pollinate our crops, and we call this ‘natural capital’.
It's easy to take some of these things for granted but we cannot keep taking from nature without giving back.
Damage to our natural systems is costing us dearly
For example, the cost of flooding (which we pay for through higher insurance premiums) and for cleaning water pollution (which we pay for through our water bills) was recently calculated at £2.4bn a year in England.
We need to find new and better ways of doing business
Investment in our natural capital is essential for sustainable business and there is an urgent need to tackle climate change, reduce pollution, manage flood risk and build stronger, more sustainable natural resources.
We're starting to see some great examples of this. The water industry has started to recognise the importance of preventing pollution at source, for example by working with farmers to minimise run-off, or restoring wetlands to ‘slow the flow’ and naturally treat water.
We have seen the transformative effect that such partnerships can have in restoring habitats, repairing damage to the natural environment and finding new and better ways of doing business.
We need ideas, innovation and investment from the business sector to improve and increase our essential natural capital and contribute towards nature’s recovery.
The Sussex Flow Initiative
In Sussex, we are working with partners to provide natural capital and multiple benefits to people and wildlife through Natural Flood Management.
The Sussex Flow Initiative is a Natural Flood Management project based in the River Ouse catchment in East Sussex. It's a partnership project between the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, and the Environment Agency, supported by funding from Lewes District Council.
We are working with landowners and local people to investigate, promote and create natural features designed to slow and store water in the landscape and to help reduce flooding.