CIEH welcomes improvement to Environment Bill but calls for swift implementation

19 May 2021, Heidi Douglas-Osborn

CIEH has welcomed the Environment Secretary’s speech outlining UK Government plans to protect and restore nature, tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, and help deliver Net Zero by 2050. Much of which are to be included in the Government’s long-delayed flagship Environment Bill.

The Environment Bill, elements of which apply to all four UK nations, has been delayed multiple times, with the UK Government stating that dealing with the Covid-19 left too little time for debate on the Bill.

The new amendments to the Bill include an additional legally binding target for species for 2030 which aims to halt the decline of nature. The Government also announced its new peat action plan which will set out a framework to improve the management, protection and restoration of England’s upland and lowland peatlands. This will also include a new Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme that will support the restoration of 35,000 hectares of degraded peatland, as well as banning the sales of peat products.

The speech also stated that the Government will treble tree planting rates in England during this parliament and will be funded through the Nature for Climate Fund and the England Woodland Creation Offer which will provide incentives for landowners and farmers. A new Species Reintroduction Taskforce will take forward work around the reintroduction of species that have been lost. The Government will publish a consultation this summer on its approach to this.

Dr Phil James, Chief Executive at CIEH, said:

“We are happy to hear that work on the Environment Bill is starting up again and the Government is giving this bill the attention it needs. These amendments are important parts of improving the natural environment in the UK and moving towards our climate targets.

This Bill is an opportunity for the Government to showcase its ambition of being a world-leader in environmental protection, but with the multiple delays, CIEH would like to see the Bill become legislation. Any further delays raise questions about the UK’s commitment to improving our environment.”

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