11/03/2019 07:55 GMT | Updated 11/03/2019 09:46 GMT

Chancellor Philip Hammond To Outline Climate Change Plans In Spring Statement

It comes as figures highlight the importance of biodiversity to the UK economy.

The Guardian
Chancellor Philip Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond is to use his Spring Statement to set out a series of new measures to protect the environment and promote biodiversity.

Hammond is expected to say he has “heard calls from young people” about the degradation of the planet when he delivers his statement in the Commons on Wednesday.

The package will include a global review of the economic benefits of biodiversity, intended to identify measures which both enhance eco-systems and promote prosperity.

The chancellor will also issue a call for evidence on how to conserve and promote natural environments in the UK’s overseas territories – from the ice fields of the British Antarctic to the islands of the Caribbean.

Officials said the announcements follow recent figures underlining the importance of biodiversity to the UK economy.

The value of the country’s 1,500 species of crop pollinators, such as bees, is estimated at at least £680m a year.

At the same time they said the overseas territories are home to 90% of the biodiversity within the UK and the territories combined, citing the example of the Falkland Islands which are home to up to 70% of the world’s black browed albatrosses.

In other measures, Hammond will announce a review to look at the expansion of carbon offsets to all UK passenger carriers as part of the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers are also looking at “future-proofing” all new-build home to ensure they have low carbon heating and high standards of energy efficiency.

However the Prospect trade union, whose members include environmental specialists and regulators, warned that without additional funding the chancellor’s promises were not worth anything.

Deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “The chancellor’s commitment to biodiversity and the environment is admirable but without adequate financing for Natural England, the regulator responsible for protecting biodiversity in the UK, it is worthless.

“Cuts have left Natural England at the point where its workers are saying that they don’t have enough people or resources to do what they need to do.

“If the chancellor really wants to protect biodiversity and support local communities in the UK he should make it clear that regulators will be given the funds necessary to do their job.”