Rhetoric masks meagre nature recovery plans – The Wildlife Trusts say Government targets must aim higher - The Wildlife Trusts

The Government has today published two major documents on nature protections and environmental targets – but The Wildlife Trusts say they will fail to stop nature’s decline, let alone enable it to recover.

The publications are:

Nature Recovery Green Paper

The Government’s Nature Recovery Green Paper consults on proposed changes to protected sites for nature, including those protected through the Habitats Regulations. The protected site network helps to ensure many of England’s most important sites for nature have long-term protection and good management.

Strengthening protections for our most valuable sites is crucial if the Government wants to meet its legally binding target to halt the decline in nature. Nationally important protected sites for nature such as Swanscombe Peninsula, which is home to many threatened species, are still at risk from inappropriate developments. To meet its commitments on nature’s recovery, the Government must ensure that sites such has these have stronger protections to prevent this.

The Green Paper also proposes giving the Secretary of State sole power over which sites should be designated for nature. This risks opening the door to those pushing for existing protections to be weakened – and draws uncertainty over whether sites such as Swanscombe would have been designated in the first place. Giving Ministers the power to designate sites should instead sit alongside the ability of experts such as Natural England to continue their role in doing so – speeding up the protection of more sites.

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Posted On: 16/03/2022

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