Changes in Government thinking and Brexit could open up big opportunities for landowners to invest in natural capital.
It was currently difficult to make a ‘business case’ for investing in natural assets, according to Strutt and Parker research partner Jason Beedell.
But he believed this would change ‘imminently’ as the Government looked ‘likely to fail’ to meet environmental objectives without significant investment.
“What we are going to find is that the Government is probably not going to pay farmers and land managers as much to produce crops in the future. It will pay them for producing public goods,” he said.
This would mean the Government needed to invest in areas such as wildlife protection, soil management and water quality.
Mr Beedell added he was more optimistic about natural capital now than he had been for 20 years as the Government had changed the way it considered its policy. It has asked the Natural Capital Committee to decide what success would look like in 2030 and work backwards.
“I do not think the Government has thought that way in the past. It is potentially a massive market for landowners,” he said.
The market could be grown by water companies who needed to store and clean water, helping manufacturers meet carbon targets and organisations ‘connecting people with nature’ for health.
There could also be opportunities in biodiversity if planning applications were required to include ‘offsetting’.
He added leaving the EU could also help natural capital fulfil its potential.
“Because we are leaving the Common Agricultural Policy, we have actually got more freedom to introduce these policies."
Strutt and Parker also suggested there were opportunities in generating and storing electricity if regulatory and planning barriers were removed.
Property for own business use
Problems with the planning system
Do not think they will get sufficient returns
Prohibitive upfront costs
Source: Strutt and Parker, CLA