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Prime Minister commits to protect 30% of UK land

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Field surrounded by hedgerows

There is coverage in the Guardian, BBC News, Daily Mirror, Telegraph, i news, the Times, Daily Express and Evening Standard of the Prime Minister’s commitment to protect 30% of land in the UK by 2030 at today’s UN General Assembly Leader’s Pledge for People and Nature event.

Coverage reports that the PM has today signed the Leader’s Pledge for Nature, which includes commitments to prioritise a green recovery from the pandemic. The 30/30 pledge means that more than 1500 additional square miles of English countryside will be designated as protected to help to support the recovery of nature.

At his speech at the UN event today, the PM warned that immediate action is needed to save wildlife and habitats which are disappearing at a ‘frightening rate’.

Lord Goldsmith writes in today's Telegraph that the state of global nature is a ‘tragedy’ and that Britain will use its financial and diplomatic powers to help other countries protect the environment.

International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

"Money alone won’t solve the problem, but governments hold powerful levers to make markets value nature and attach a cost to environmental destruction.

Globally, agriculture causes 80 per cent of deforestation, mostly for growing commodities like palm oil, soya, and cocoa. If the top fifty food producing countries follow our lead in replacing their land use subsidies with a system that rewards farmers for environmental stewardship, $700 billion a year – around four times the world’s aid budget – would shift to support nature."

Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, said:

“We are running out of time to bring the world together to protect and reverse the alarming loss of wildlife we have witnessed in recent years.

“So today I wholeheartedly welcome government’s pledge to increasing the size and value of our protected English countryside by an 1500 additional square miles.

“We look forward to working with the government to help make this happen to reverse nature’s decline so that our children can experience and benefit from a richer natural environment.”

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  1. Comment by Merrick Denton-Thompson posted on

    The public must get behind this important government pledge to reverse the decline in biodiversity. The projected target of increasing protected landscapes is most welcome, as is the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan targeting all land for sustainable management. Food production targets should be defined by a new discipline determined by Natural Capital criteria. We hope that the Sustainable Farming Incentive provides a simple framework for substantial public investment into the microbial health of all soils, such a move will kick start nature recovery as evidenced on the Cholderton Estate in Hampshire/Wiltshire.

    We also can utilize our buying power to ensure to only import food that does not pollute aquifers and rivers, does not emit climate changing gases, does not destroy the microbial health of soils or damage ecosystems elsewhere in the world.

  2. Comment by Kate Robinson posted on

    The best way to protect the British Countryside in general, & our precious farmland as well as areas of natural to bring a dramatic halt to mass inward immigration & the resulting huge increase is residential construction & corresponding infrastructure.
    Land is a finite resource, an old farming saying is "animals cant eat the same grass twice", in other words a feild can only support a certain number of animals before its overgrazed & the root structure is damaged & the topsoil turns to mud. Likewise in my belief, our small island CANNOT support its present & escalating human population without destroying our natural & farmed environment. When I was a child, there were roughly 55 million humans in UK ....which was much closer to number at which we could be largely self sufficient, with no need for high density residential areas, nor encroachment into Rural areas/Suburban Sprawl.
    Somehow we need to head back towards that kind of situation. Back to small mixed family farms & less of the massive machinery causing soil impaction, increased surface water run off & other damage.

  3. Comment by William Hughes-Games posted on

    Protecting 30% of the land of the UK is a wise and necessary move. However it doesn't include letting sheep graze on protected land as is often done at present. Sheep simply ensure that a natural ecological succession can not occur and that the land remains a grassland.

  4. Comment by Michael Heylin OBE posted on

    Is Boris for real? He wants a revolution and lack of local oversight on planning decisions with an increase in the number of homes being built, not that there is any shortage at the moment, and yet claims to be putting 30% of UK land in a safe zone. It simply does not stack up. Can we have joined up government again please with Parliament taking the decisions instead of a blind man in number ten who can only find Barnard Castle when he isn't allowed to be there. And perhaps the press office in Defra could save public money by not spending any more of it on pronouncements from Boris. I am very pleased to see that Boris has signed another document. How long will it be before he finds it wasn't what he thought it was and rescinds it then?