Environment Secretary, George Eustice, has announced that the Government will be adding a legally binding target for reversing the loss of species by 2030 in the Environment Bill, aiming to halt the decline of nature. This is massive - once the Environment Bill is made law England will become the first country ever with a target for wildlife's recovery.
The recovery of nature must play a fundamental role in England’s approach to tackling climate change and this announcement is a massive step toward making this happen.
The Environment Bill is the UK Government’s proposed new law which sets out how they plan to protect and improve our natural world. It looks to replace EU environmental laws after Brexit and is currently making its way through Parliament. Alongside over 70 organisations, the RSPB and its supporters have stated clearly that this Bill did not go far enough in protecting and restoring the natural world.
Over 175,000 people signed our joint petition calling on the Prime Minister to set a legally binding target in the Bill to reverse the loss of nature in England by 2030. Through your actions speaking out in this campaign, we are now closer than ever to this goal, but until we see this addition written into the Environment Bill there is still work to be done. We need to keep pressure on the Government to make sure the detail matches up to the ambition of the announcement.
Photo credits: Norman Norris (rspb-images.com)
This announcement is an incredible achievement, but it's just the first step. Once the Bill becomes law, we've identified five key actions the UK Government must take to ensure they meet the target and bring nature back:
1) The UK Government must develop an ambitious and well-funded scheme which encourages and rewards farmers who deliver environmental benefits for wildlife and people. 70% of land in England is farmed so farmers and landowners will play a vital role in nature’s recovery.
2) Commit to conserving, restoring and expanding nature rich areas, included improving the condition of the protected areas network and protected landscapes.
3) Ensure that planning policy makes space for nature and that future developments, including major infrastructure projects, leaving nature in a better state than before.
4) Managing our marine protected areas for nature by banning environmentally damaging fishing activities.
5) Improve the condition of our rivers, lakes and streams by reducing harmful pollutants in our waterways. This will make them nature rich spaces that support wildlife, land and communities from their source to the sea.
We’re incredibly grateful for all your support in getting us here. Keep an eye out for how you can keep the pressure on the Government to deliver a world leading Environment Bill in the next few months.
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