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Importance of natural environment

PUBLISHED: 10:32 19 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:43 01 August 2010

PROTECTING East Anglia's natural environment is "critical" for its long term economic prosperity, according to a new report which shows it is one of the region's most valuable assets.

PROTECTING East Anglia's natural environment is “critical” for its long term economic prosperity, according to a new report which shows it is one of the region's most valuable assets.

The report, No Charge? Valuing the Natural Environment, by Natural England suggests that the benefits of ecological solutions outweigh the cost, many times over in some cases.

For example, naturally occurring nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can cause serious changes in the ecology of water, leading to the death of fish and spread of disease.

Reducing nutrients in water bodies in the east has saved millions of pounds, significantly exceeding the estimated costs.

Shaun Thomas, Natural England's east of England director, said: “The idea that there is a choice to be made between economic success and conservation is a false one and we have to move away from the mindset that regards securing the health of the natural environment as a drag on prosperity and growth.

“The evidence is overwhelming. A healthy natural environment provides cost-effective solutions to many of the challenges we face; from flooding and coastal defence through to delivering fresh water and adapting to climate change. It is abundantly clear that nature's support services and the way we look after them are fundamental to our economic performance and wellbeing. We cannot truly prosper without a healthy natural environment. It is integral to our health, wellbeing and happiness.”

To view the full report go to www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/securefuture/default.aspx

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