There has been reporting today on the Office for Environmental Protection’s report on government progress in 2022/23 in meeting our environmental targets. We are carefully reviewing these findings. We have always been clear that our targets are designed to be stretching and ambitious, which is why we are going further and faster than any other to protect and restore nature.
Since 2010 we have created or restored wildlife habitats the size of Dorset and established 100 Marine Protected Areas across 35,000 square miles of English waters.
And in the last nine months alone, which is not covered by this OEP reporting period, we have:
- Implemented a ban on single-use plastics
- Launched a new species survival fund
- Begun the process of creating a new national park
- Planted nearly 5 million trees
- Worked with farmers to launch 34 additional new landscape recovery projects.
- Accelerated the Environmental Land Management schemes and improved payment rates for farmers to support them recover nature
- Brought in new strengthened protections for our most special marine habitats
- Significantly improved air quality with PM2.5 emissions down by 10%.
Last month at COP28, we announced new legislation which will ensure that the products we buy in our supermarkets do not harm the world’s forests
We also set out how we plan to drive forward our commitment to protect 30% of land and sea in England for nature by 2030.
The indicative map illustrates that 8.5% of land in England – including Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves – already count toward the target, with a further 26.8% of land having the potential to contribute in the future.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
Since 2010, the government has created or restored habitat the size of Dorset, and in the last six months alone, we have implemented a ban on single-use plastics, begun the process of creating a new national park, planted nearly 5 million trees and worked with farmers to launch 34 new landscape recovery projects.
We were always clear that our targets are ambitious, and would require significant work to achieve, but we are fully committed to creating a greener country for future generations and going further and faster to deliver for nature.
We will carefully review the Office for Environmental Protection’s findings and respond in due course.