Thank you to all those who contacted me about environmental protections and the People’s Plan for Nature.
Our nature teeters on a cliff-edge and research shows that the UK is in the bottom 10% of all countries for biodiversity preservation. This just shows how serious the situation is for our beloved natural environment.
In my view, we need ambitious biodiversity targets that not only halt the decline of species here but aim for a dramatic incline. I am troubled by the risks to environmental protections, including that posed by the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.
I support the principle of paying farmers for providing environmental benefits such as nature-friendly farming. However, I have concerns the Government’s Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), details of which were announced in January, does not offer enough and is too complex and unattractive to farmers. I worry ELMS will encourage farmers to do what they already do and that there will be insufficient environmental benefit from the scheme as it lacks a whole-farm approach.
Farming and the environment must not be viewed as in conflict. With the right support, farmers can conserve, protect and enhance natural ecosystems and generate healthier soil, good food and greater biodiversity. The climate and nature crises cannot be tackled without sustainable farming.
I also support the Opposition’s pledge for a Right to Roam Act, where people would not only have expanded public access to nature but also the right to experience, to enjoy and to explore our countryside.
For nature to recover and thrive, we need to manage our land and ecosystems in a way that leaves room for nature. This is helped by people developing a stronger appreciation of nature as the more people engage with the environment, wildlife and habitats, the more likely they are to protect them.
I will continue to call for action to build a future where nature thrives, where people have a deeper connection to the environment and where everyone has equal access to the benefits of green spaces.