UK unveils ambitious nature package ahead of COP28

The UK Environment Secretary has announced a nature package, featuring initiatives like a search for a new National Park, 34 landscape recovery projects and measures to enhance access to green spaces

Ahead of the COP28 conference, the UK Government has outlined a robust nature-focused package aimed at expanding public access to green spaces and reinforcing the nation’s commitment to nature conservation.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay revealed the multi-faceted plan.

The key components of the package include the initiation of a search for a new National Park, starting in the coming year.

Additionally, the government is injecting £15 million to support existing National Parks and National Landscapes.

A different aspect of the plan involves the introduction of 34 new Landscape Recovery projects across England, covering over 200,000 hectares of land.

These projects, spanning woodlands, rainforests, and sustainable food production, contribute to the government’s farming schemes, promoting environmentally beneficial practices.

To foster greater access to green spaces, the government has committed £2.5 million to enable more children and disadvantaged young people to experience the outdoors.

The package extends its influence into urban areas, with new powers strengthening requirements for local authorities to consult communities before cutting down street trees.

Further initiatives include plans to recover England’s temperate rainforests, a competition for a new National Forest, the establishment of two additional Community Forests and legislation for Biodiversity Net Gain to ensure developments leave nature in a better state.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I shared in the nation’s profound sense of anger in response to what happened at the Sycamore Gap earlier this year, but the public’s outrage fundamentally demonstrated just how much love the British people have for the natural world.”

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Nature is at the foundation of food production, water security and is critical to our economy, and our mental and physical health.

“It is why it is so important to deliver on our commitment to halt the decline of nature and safeguard at least 30% of our extraordinary landscapes.”

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