What is the future of our countryside?

Helm joined interviewer Tony Juniper at the Festival to discuss his new book, Green and Prosperous Land: A Blueprint for Rescuing the British Countryside,  in which he outlined his 25 year plan to maintain cleaner rivers, thriving wildlife and healthier ecosystems.

He said, all too often with the environment there is a “sense of doom and hopelessness” that is blamed on “economic policy and economists like me, but that is profoundly wrong”. 

He said a lot of the damage is due to the “extraordinary explosion of the human race”.  Despite this we do have a duty to “bequeath the next generation a set of assets at least as good as the ones we have now…so they can choose how to live their lives”. 

Helm’s book outlines three core principles, which includes a 'polluter pays’ principle. He said if we follow these concepts we would have sustainable economic growth and a green and prosperous land.

However, his 25 year project needs legal underpinning.  He said he has been working hard to obtain the political consensus he needs to move it forward but “once it's on the statutes books…it’s damn hard to undo”.

If you are interested in more talks like this see Event 65 at 7pm on Saturday 25 May.  If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.