The UK Government has come under scrutiny for its claim that it is “on track to reach its target to protect 30% of UK land and sea for nature by 2030.”
Environmental groups have claimed that there is no evidence to support this assertion.
The 30×30 target, which the UK championed at COP-15, is an international commitment aimed at conserving a significant portion of the country’s natural landscapes.
A recent report from Wildlife and Countryside Link estimated that only 3.11% of land and up to 8% of sea in England are effectively protected for nature, casting doubt on the government’s claims.
In response to a Freedom of Information request seeking evidence of progress towards the 30×30 target, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) could provide no assessments, evidence, or policy papers, according to environmental groups.
This lack of transparency has raised concerns, particularly in light of recent scientific evidence indicating a continued decline in UK biodiversity.
Dr Richard Benwell, Chief Executive Officer of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “Given that the 30×30 target is a critical milestone for improving nature it is disappointing, to say the least, that the government is not tracking its progress and can provide no policy route for how the target will be met by the deadline.”
Elliot Chapman-Jones, Head of Public Affairs at The Wildlife Trusts, said: “The government is not only not ‘on track’ to its 30×30 target it seems to have got lost in the woods with no compass or map to guide its way.”