Rewilding and the rural economy

Rockpooling copyright COAST
Implementing locally-driven Nature-Based Economies across 30% of Britain by 2030 will bring social and economic benefits to rural and coastal communities, which are already among the most deprived in Britain (C) COAST

Rewilding Britain believes that a new and thriving ecosystem of employment can be built around the restoration and rewilding of nature. We propose the creation of localised Nature-Based Economies across 30% of Britain by 2030. We would like to see each Nature-Based Economy supporting a diversified, resilient and just economic transition alongside the large-scale restoration and rewilding of nature. 

Nature-Based Economies should incorporate:

  • Core rewilding areas (at least 5% of Britain) which focus on restoring and reinstating as wide a range of natural processes, habitats and missing species as possible to form mosaics of native forest, peatlands, heaths, species-rich grasslands, wetlands, saltmarshes, kelp beds, seagrass and living reefs. There should be minimal or no human impact or extraction of resources.
  • Regenerative areas (at least 25% of Britain) which support a diverse range of land and marine uses and enterprises, generating value for the local economy while allowing nature to flourish, e.g. continuous cover forestry, nature-based tourism, recreational fishing, regenerative aquaculture and high-nature value/​wild meats.

Our report demonstrates:

  • The people-led approach we propose can help rewild and restore nature while invigorating a much-needed economic transformation of rural and coastal communities. 
  • Across a number of economic sectors we provide examples from real businesses to show how investing in nature and nature-based businesses can help us transition to a low carbon future while delivering real social and economic benefits today.

Rewilding Britain is calling for the UK and devolved governments to invest in new thinking and joined-up action to unleash the extraordinary potential of Nature-Based Economies.

We are asking them to:

  • Incentivise the creation of Nature-Based Economies across at least 30% of Britain’s land and seas, including core rewilding and regenerative areas, as part of a green recovery.
  • Integrate Nature-Based Economies within the upcoming Nature Green Paper, outlining how we plan to meet our target to protect 30% of Britain’s land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030.
  • Mandate all National Park Authorities, Protected Area and Marine Management Organisations to create locally-led Nature-Based Economies, leading the way with at least 10% core rewilding areas.
  • Support the creation of integrated local land and marine use plans linked to the development of Nature-Based Economies that are shaped by local communities and led by trusted anchor institutions.
  • Mandate relevant authorities – e.g. local councils, NPAs, Local Nature and Land Use Partnerships, forestry agencies – to back the development of locally-led Nature-Based Economies.
  • Enhance localised decision-making by diversifying public, private and community ownership models within Nature-Based Economies, for example through extending Scotland’s Community Right to Buy to England and Wales.
  • Re-orientate a significant amount of public funding towards the establishment of Nature-Based Economies, especially for core rewilding areas.
  • Encourage equivalent increases in private capital investment focused on integrated business models which deliver nature’s recovery alongside thriving local communities.
  • Develop locally-driven public investment vehicles which provide concessionary finance to small and medium nature-based enterprises and reinvest the returns in new projects.
  • Empower local anchor institutions to attract and coordinate significant inward investment and ensure that benefits accrue to the local economy.
  • Establish integrated regulatory processes and practices that support the development and implementation of Nature-Based Economies in alignment with local land and marine use plans.
  • Re-orientate public innovation funding towards the establishment of Nature-Based Economies to support nature’s restoration and place rural and coastal communities at the forefront of a just economic transition.
  • Establish ‘nature-based enterprise zones’ with associated packages of support for nature-based businesses aligned to locally determine land/marine use plans.
  • Integrate other innovation support mechanisms within Nature-Based Economies such as ensuring adequate investment in internet connectivity and local infrastructure.

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