UK Government under fire for 2030 nature target

UK environmental organisations have criticised the government for its lack of evidence supporting its claim to be on track to meet its target of protecting 30% of land and sea

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.”

A Defra spokesperson told Energy Live News: “This claim is completely false. We published a plan to deliver our environmental goals in January through the Environmental Improvement Plan, totalling 262 pages of action, and will set out our progress on 30 by 30 as promised by the end of the year.
“The UK was one of the first countries in the world to commit to the 30 by 30 campaign, which was later adopted internationally at the UN Nature Summit in Montreal.
“This government has created or restored habitat the size of Dorset and created over 100 Marine Protected Areas since 2010. We have introduced a swathe of measures to identify and invest in spaces for nature, including Biodiversity Net Gain, Local Nature Recovery Strategies, our three environmental land management schemes which have had record uptake across the country and more.”

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