In 2018 the government published the 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) which set out goals for improving the environment, within a generation, and leaving it in a better state than we found it. Earlier this year, the publication of the second statutory Environment Improvement Plan unveiled a comprehensive delivery plan to reach these goals.
Here are 40 key actions taken by the government to deliver the government’s environmental objectives:
- Committed to our apex target, to tackle the loss of biodiversity and halt the decline in species abundance by 2030.
- Helped secure the new Global Biodiversity Framework, including a shared global commitment to protect at least 30% of the world’s ocean and land by 2030.
- Launched the £25 million Species Survival Fund, taking action to halt species decline and preserve vital habitats.
- Made available £14 million local authorities and community groups for new tree planting projects, enriching urban areas with greenery.
- Awarded £40 million to over 80 conservation projects worldwide, supporting biodiversity and local communities.
- Introduced the Darwin Plus grant scheme to tackle biodiversity loss in the UK Overseas Territories.
- Designated the first three Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters, safeguarding marine ecosystems.
- Opened the second round of Landscape Recovery, backing 25 wildlife habitat projects led by farmers and land managers.
- Protected food for seabirds and marine mammals by banning UK sandeel fishing for the third year.
- Initiated a Global Roadmap with the French Government for Harnessing Biodiversity Credits, aiming to drive nature financing.
- Published the Green Finance Strategy and Nature Markets Framework, supporting the growth of high-integrity nature markets.
Improving Air Quality:
- Set out actions for local authorities to improve air quality and meet our ambitious PM2.5 targets through the Air Quality Strategy: framework for local authority delivery.
- Banned the sale of traditional house coal and restricted wet wood sales to improve air quality.
Safeguarding a Clean and Plentiful Water Supply:
- Released the comprehensive Plan for Water, ensuring a healthy water environment and sufficient water supply.
- Accelerated £2.2 billion in infrastructure investments for storm overflow management and drought resilience.
- Introduced unlimited penalties for environmental polluters to hold water companies accountable.
- Increased funding for round one of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant from £13.2 million to £33.9 million.
- Requested wet wipe producers to address concerns over so-called 'flushable' wipes.
- Committed to making the target for storm overflow management legally binding through the Environment Act 2021.
- Hosted a summit on the River Wye, collaborating with stakeholders to improve its state.
Managing Exposure to Chemicals and Pesticides:
- Accepted recommendations to protect people and the environment from PFAS chemical impacts.
- Invested £3 million in developing sustainable fertilizers at the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Summit.
Maximising our resources, minimising our waste:
- Confirmed our ban on single-use plastics such as plates, trays, bowls and cutlery from October.
- Joined 52 countries in supporting an international treaty to combat plastic pollution.
Using resources sustainably:
- Launched the improved Countryside Stewardship scheme, incentivising farmers and land managers to protect the environment.
- Accelerated the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme, supporting habitat management and eco-friendly pest control.
- Sought feedback on enhancing hedgerow protections, further supporting sustainable farming.
- Held the first-ever 'Nature for Finance' event, identifying investment opportunities for nature recovery.
- Published six fisheries management plans to ensure sustainable fisheries for generations.
Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change:
- Set ambitious goals to reduce Defra sector emissions in The Net Zero Growth Plan.
- Planted approximately 4 million trees in the 2022/23 planting season, a 40% increase on last year.
- Funding over 7,000 hectares of peatland for restoration under the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme.
- Published the Third National Adaptation Programme to address climate risks and opportunities.
- Funding six landscape-scale nature restoration projects to trial carbon capture and climate change mitigation.
- Launched a £40 million grant programme to help put nature at the forefront of the fight against climate change and poverty.
Reducing risk of harm from environmental hazards:
- Better protected over 26,000 properties in 2022/23.
- Funding £26 million from the £100 million Frequently Flooded Allowance to better protect more than 2,300 households and businesses.
Enhancing animal and plant health:
- Published the Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain, positioning the UK as a global leader in plant health.
Enhancing Beauty, Heritage, and Engagement:
- Published England's first national Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code.
- Expanded the King Charles III England Coast Path, creating over 850 miles of continuous national coastal trails.
These achievements illustrate the government’s unwavering commitment to a sustainable future, nurturing our environment and securing a better world for generations to come.