Today is a potentially historic day. At a Wildlife Trust event, the Government announced a “net zero” equivalent for nature with legally binding targets to halt species decline by 2030.
Today’s announcement is positive but it now needs to translate into action. The targets must be ambitious, comprehensive, measurable, and there must be the power to hold the government to account if they fail to produce policies that will meet the targets.
Whilst halting species decline is a necessary first step, it cannot be the final goal. Too much nature has already been lost and just preventing yet more loss is inadequate. We need to bend the curve of decline upwards and begin restoring nature - bringing back what has been lost, making our country wilder and ensuring at least 30% is well managed for nature.
Other gaps in the Environment Bill also need plugging. Massive infrastructure projects, like the destructive HS2, must be included in the requirement to deliver biodiversity net gain. Nature Recovery Networks must also be given greater importance, and the independence of the Office for Environmental Protection must be strengthened.
We and our supporters have long campaigned for improvements to the Environment Bill, so today’s announcement should be celebrated, albeit with caution.
Thank you to everyone who has written to their MP, signed the State of Nature amendment petition, and taken action for nature. Our collective voice has been heard and we now have the opportunity to halt the devastating decline in nature and turn a corner to bring back wildlife, restore habitats in our three counties and stop extinctions.
We need more nature everywhere - this is a huge step forward, but the work continues.