In the first major review of the Environment Improvement Plan, Government advisors warn that the Government is off-track, and risks missing the legally-binding target to halt nature decline by 2030.
The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has concluded that Government needs to speed up and scale up delivery. It also warns that the plan lacks transparency and accountability. This follows its 2023 report, which said progress had, ‘fallen far short of what is needed to meet Government’s ambition to leave the environment in a better state’.
Wildlife and Countryside Link is calling on Government to double down on delivery.
Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:
“Government must double down on delivery of its nature promises or hopes of meeting the positive promises in the Environment Act will remain daydreams.
“A rapid delivery plan of action and investment is needed to create an economy that can thrive with nature, instead of at nature’s expense. This plan is supposed to be the flagship of reforms to leave the environment in a better state for future generations. But instead, Government is bobbing along with business as usual.
“We’ve already seen Government fall behind on key elements of the plan: the land use strategy, the chemicals strategy, and the pesticides reduction strategy are all missing in action. Major measures like the deposit return scheme, restrictions on lead ammunition and the horticultural peat ban are delayed. Much more ambition is needed for nature-friendly farming and making polluters pay.”
“Government should scale up investment in nature with a £1bn a year “Wild Isles Fund” to restore wildlife, and more ambitious and generous support for nature-friendly farming. It should speed up action for access to nature and stronger “polluter pays” responsibilities for big business.
“The seeds of these ideas are in the plan, but they’ll simply lie dormant without leadership on delivery.”