ON MONDAY 9 MAY it will be six months since the landmark Environment Act was passed – the first dedicated environmental legislation for nearly 30 years and the first time England has set legally binding targets for nature’s recovery.

A consultation is due to close on 11 May to assess how ambitious these targets will be.

The long-term target currently being proposed for nature’s recovery aims to have just 10 per cent more nature in 2042 than 2030 levels – by which time the state of our natural world is expected to have declined even further.

This could mean that wildlife is less abundant by 2042 than it is now, after another decade of decline, and clearly falls short of the UK Government’s promise to pass on nature in better condition.

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with 41 per cent of species in decline and 15 per cent at risk of extinction. The Wildlife Trusts say this is not surprising, when 97 per cent of lowland meadows – home to wildflowers, mammals and birds – have disappeared, as have 80 per cent of heathlands. Rivers also are in deep trouble.

The Wildlife Trusts say the new target that the UK Government has proposed is too weak and unambitious – England would have even less wildlife in 20 years’ time than the much-depleted state that we have now.

Joan Edwards, director of policy and public affairs for The Wildlife Trusts, says: “At a time when we need to trigger a decade of nature restoration by setting high standards for the proposed Environment Act targets, current proposals mean that the UK Government’s clear commitment to leave the environment in a better state of the next generation is in jeopardy. We’re urging everyone to sign our petition calling for stronger targets to put nature on the path to recovery before the situation gets even worse.”

* Read The Wildlife Trusts’ briefing on the Nature Recovery Green Paper and Environment Act target consultations here.

* Demand Better for Wildlife petition here.

* Source: The Wildlife Trusts