What is the Environment Act?
The Environment Act was passed into law in 2021 as the UK’s key piece of environmental legislation. It sets out many important policies, as well as targets, which the Government must adhere to. It’s a wide-ranging legal document, involving air quality, resource efficiency, conservation and pollution – just to name a few. Thanks to thousands of passionate campaigners and supporters raising their voices, the Government laid the framework for nature’s recovery. We now need to ensure that the resulting targets give the best outcome for nature, woods and trees.
Find out more about the Environment Act here.
What is the Government currently doing?
There is currently a consultation on the target-setting process outlined in the Environment Act. While there are some good elements, overall the Government’s proposed targets don’t have nearly enough ambition or a wide enough scope. We can’t miss the opportunity to secure legally binding targets which prioritise nature.
The Government is currently proposing an increase of tree canopy and woodland cover from 14.5% to 17.5% of England’s land area by 2050. But it has no proposals for ensuring that the woods and trees planted will deliver for wildlife.
What other targets are being proposed?
The Government has also set targets relating to water, air quality, waste and biodiversity. The biodiversity target in its current form could leave wildlife populations lower in twenty years’ time than they are today.
We support Wildlife and Countryside LINK’s call for more ambition across the board. Read LINK's statement on the environmental targets here.