Government is “far short” of its environmental goals

Date:

Government is "far short" of its environmental goals.

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Thursday, January 19, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • According to a report by the independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), biodiversity in the nation is declining, which is “very alarming.

  • “It was discovered that many of the 23 environmental targets set by the administration were in grave danger of not being met.

  • The administration promised to study the report seriously.

  • A Defra spokeswoman said that the agency would release a new plan for improving the environment by the end of this month.

  • This plan will help the agency reach its goals to protect the environment, fight climate change, and stop species from going extinct by 2030. To achieve environmental goals, “quick, concerted action and investment,” according to Wildlife and Countryside Link CEO Richard Benwell, are required.

A watchdog group is worried that what the government is doing to protect and improve the environment in England is “far short” of what is needed.

According to a report by the independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), biodiversity in the nation is declining, which is “very alarming.”

It was discovered that many of the 23 environmental targets set by the administration were in grave danger of not being met.

The administration promised to study the report seriously.

The study looked at 32 environmental factors, such as the number of species and air and water quality changes. It found that nine trends were improving, 11 were staying the same, and eight were getting worse. Four regions lacked sufficient information to allow for a trustworthy evaluation.

It said, “The situation is bad all around, with negative trends in marine, freshwater, and land habitats.”

Of the 23 environmental targets it examined, 14 were “off course,” and the remaining nine could not be evaluated due to a lack of data.

A Defra spokeswoman said that the agency would release a new plan for improving the environment by the end of this month. This plan will help the agency reach its goals to protect the environment, fight climate change, and stop species from going extinct by 2030.

To achieve environmental goals, “quick, concerted action, and investment,” according to Wildlife and Countryside Link CEO Richard Benwell, are required.

He said, “The days of fluffy wish lists and funding for nature policies from the back of the sofa must end if we want to stop nature from getting worse.”

The OEP, set up by the 2021 Environment Act to hold the government and other public organizations accountable and ensure they meet their legal obligations, says that the government “repeatedly fails” to meet its legal goals.

It said that the lack of coherence in environmental strategy inside Defra and throughout government had been made worse by the COVID epidemic, the war in Ukraine, and the cost of living issue.

Chronological decline

The report said, “Overall, we don’t think that the current speed and size of action will lead to the changes needed to make the environment in England better in a meaningful way.”

The chair of the OEP, Dame Glenys Stacey, said that better data collection and monitoring were needed at all levels of government to ensure that goals were being met.

She also said that “progress on delivering the 25-Year Environment Plan has fallen far short of what is needed” to help the government reach its goal of leaving the environment in a better state for future generations.

She said, “Despite some improvements in air quality and how people interact with nature, many very worrying environmental trends are still unchecked, such as a steady decrease in the number of species.”

A Defra spokesman talked about the agency’s work since it announced its 25-year environmental plan in 2018. This meant paying for projects that helped more than 120,000 hectares of land recover naturally, planting more trees, and fixing peatlands.

He said, “The complete steps this government will take to reverse the deterioration in nature, accomplish our net zero goals, and deliver better air and water will be laid out in a new environmental improvement plan that will be unveiled at the end of the month.”

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