UPDATE: 2nd February
I welcome this week's announcement from the Government of its Environmental Improvement Plan, with the clear goal of improving nature and halting the decline in our biodiversity.
You can read more about the plan here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-improvement-plan
As the Prime Minister said at COP27, ‘there is no solution to climate change without protecting and restoring nature’.
Five years ago the 25 Year Environment Plan set out our vision and the ten complementary goals designed to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited.
Several constituents have sent me a campaign email from RSPB which falsely represents and accuses the Government of not caring about nature following last Friday’s fiscal event (dated 23.09.2022) and the Chancellor’s announcement of the Growth Plan. This is not a correct representation of the Government’s actions or intentions.
The email insinuates, in essence, that the Government is considering weakening environmental laws.
This - as the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs has stated - is simply not right.
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Ranil Jayawardena, has said the following:
We are not scrapping our reforms. The environment, farming and economic growth go hand-in-hand and we are committed to our schemes that will support out farmers to produce high-quality food and enhance our natural environment.
The Government announced that:
- Some of the more bureaucratic processes within the planning system will be streamlined to enable businesses to invest and high quality jobs to be created more easily in selected investment zones,
- Food security will also be carefully considered alongside the need for environmental protection, this is an important issue and which local farmers have told me they have been particularly concerned about.
The campaign email I have received is misinformation and misrepresents the announcement on both of these points.
Successive Governments have implemented legally binding targets and plans to protect the environment and wildlife in the United Kingdom. The Environment Act of 2021 ‘sets clear statutory targets for the recovery of the natural world in four priority areas: air quality, biodiversity, water and waste, and includes an important new target to reverse the decline in species abundance by the end of 2030’. Future planning reforms, as proposed in the Growth Plan, will be assessed with the Government’s commitment to the environment in mind.
For more information on the Government’s commitment to environmental protections please see this link: Government reiterates commitment to environmental protections - Defra in the media (blog.gov.uk)