James Cooper, head of government affairs at the Woodland Trust, responds to the Queen's Speech, and the announcement that the government's first priority will be "the deficit and restoring economic stability."
If the Government is developing a narrative that goes beyond austerity, then the state of the natural environment is a vital component. As well as financing appropriate energy projects, the Green Investment Bank should support attempts to enhance the quality of the natural environment as a whole.
Forests, trees and woods provide a wealth of economic benefits and ecosystems services to people thereby reducing energy costs, the impacts of flooding, and the severity of drought on crops. The proposed Water Bill is a welcome development and should have the protection and enhancement of the natural environment at its heart.