The Government have accepted an amendment which will include nature based solutions within the definition of infrastructure for the UK Infrastructure Bank which is being formally established through this Bill.
Throughout the passage of the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill Peers, led by Baroness Hayman, have made the case for nature-based solutions to be included on the face of the Bill in the definition of infrastructure in which the bank will be able to invest. After the passing of an amendment with support from across the parties at Report stage in the House of Lords, and following passage through the House of Commons, the Government agreed to expand the definition of infrastructure under the Bill to include this.
At ping-pong in the Lords the Government Minister, Baroness Penn said:
“The Government have reflected on the debate and recognise the strength of feeling on the matter and, as such, think the amendment from the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, strikes a careful balance of making it clear that nature-based solutions are within the bank’s remit without being overly prescriptive.”
Baroness Penn, Treasury Minister, 14 March 2023
Including nature-based solutions on the face of the Bill, which is intended to complete the establishment of the Bank, has the potential to unlock significant investment in natural capital. It provides a strong signal to the Bank and other market participants from the outset that the UK recognises the critical role nature plays in UK infrastructure, and that the Government is taking action to help build and develop this nascent market.
The Minister also gave an assurance that the circular economy would be supported through the Bank’s investments.
During the short ping-pong debate on 14 March Peers from across the House voiced their support for the Government adopting this amendment.