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Charities applaud a significant legal win for nature

27 August 2021

Nature charities have applauded a Government amendment to the Environment Bill today to set a legal target to halt the decline in the abundance of wildlife by 2030. Currently 41% of species in the UK are in long-term decline and 15% are threatened with extinction in Great Britain.

This follows a major campaign by nature charities, who have called for a “net zero for nature”. The new duty creates a legal requirement to ensure that the Government takes action to halt the decline in the abundance of wildlife by 2030.

A petition calling for a legal target to halt the decline of nature by 2030 was handed in to Rt Hon George Eustice MP, the Environment Secretary, on 7 July. Photos can be found here.

The petition was signed by over 208,000 people, and is backed by 70 organisations, and prominent wildlife campaigners including Sir Chris Packham, Steve Backshall and Mya-Rose Craig (Birdgirl).

The campaign is supported by a cross-party group of politicians from across the Houses of Parliament. A legal amendment tabled by Lord Sir John Randall (Conservative), Baroness Maggie Jones (Labour), Baroness Kate Parminter (Liberal Democrat) and Professor Lord Sir John Krebs (cross-bench), was due to be considered in the House of Lords on Monday 6 September, when politicians could have voted the change through.

An earlier response to the campaign had seen the Government introduce a requirement for a 2030 species target, but it was criticised by nature charities because it did not specify the ambition of halting decline by 2030.

Now, the nature charities have welcome the new, stronger target as a significant step forward for nature’s recovery.

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:
 “This improvement to the Environment Bill is a significant win for wildlife. We are grateful to the many thousands of people and to the politicians from across the political spectrum who have supported the campaign for a State of Nature target.

“This is a world first—a legal requirement to stop the decline in wildlife after decades of terrible decline, which is ultimately enforceable in court if the Government does not take the action required.

“The Government has responded to this critical campaign at a significant moment for conservation, ahead of global talks on nature and climate. The timing is just right.”

ENDS


Notes to Editors:



- Organisations supporting the State of Nature Campaign:
National Trust, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust, WWF, Greenpeace UK, Black2Nature, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), The Rivers Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, League Against Cruel Sports, SOS-UK, RSPCA, ARC Trust, the Mammal Society, Keep Britain Tidy, Campaign for National Parks, Flood Plain Meadows Partnership, the River Restoration Centre, People's Trust for Endangered Species, Black Environment Network, Surfers Against Sewage, Four Paws UK, Rewilding Britain, The Badger Trust, The British Mountaineering Council, Marine Conservation Society, Wild Justice, John Muir Trust, Forest Stewardship Council UK, Green Alliance, Wildlife Gardening Forum, Open Spaces Society, CPRE The Countryside Charity, Institute of Fisheries Management, A Rocha UK, Born Free Foundation, ORCA, ClientEarth, The Angling Trust, Ramblers GB, Bat Conservation Trust, The Zoological Society of London, WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust), Salmon & Trout Conservation, Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Buglife, Plantlife, Earthwatch Europe, Humane Society International UK, Shark Trust, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Naturewatch Foundation, British Ecological Society, ALERC, CHEM Trust, UK Youth for Nature, Sustainable Food Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, The Aldersgate Group, Nature Friendly Farming Network, Blue Ventures, Save the Children, Beaver Trust, UK Green Building Council, Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife & Countryside Link

- The campaigners’ recent letter to the Prime Minister can be found here.

- The text of the new amendment can be found here.

- COP-26 climate talks take place in Glasgow in November. COP-15 nature talks are expected early in 2022 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, when new global targets for nature are expected to be agreed.