The Environment Bill (Report Stage)
As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Environment, ensuring that the Environment Bill is as robust as it can be to protect our country is extremely important to me.
I am pleased that the Environment Bill will put environmental ambition and accountability at the very heart of government, enhancing the commitment to leave the natural world in a better condition than we found it, and creating a new environment body to ensure it succeeds. Ministers have been clear that they will realise the benefits of leaving the EU, including implementing new ways of delivering better levels of environmental protection.
I spoke in the Chamber during the report stage of the Environment Bill on January 26th; you can read my speech here. I hope I have reassured you of my commitment to ensure the Environment Bill is as strong as it can be.
Protecting Nature & Biodiversity
Like you, I am also passionate about protecting nature and I am concerned that our country’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems are under threat. While it is encouraging that seventy-five world leaders registered their support for the ambitious Leader’s Pledge for Nature to put nature and biodiversity on the road to recovery by 2030, we must now turn those words into meaningful action. I am therefore thrilled that Ministers are launching a partnership to help deliver the biggest nature recovery project in England’s history, which will restore our depleted ecosystems and habitats as we continue to build back greener.
The Nature Recovery Network Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, will bring together representatives from over 600 organisations to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes and help provide at least 500,000 hectares of new wildlife-rich habitat across England. The Network will link together our very best nature rich places, restore landscapes in towns and the countryside and create new habitats for everybody to enjoy. This is the biggest initiative to restore nature ever to be launched in England.
As well as making sure our existing protected sites are in the best possible condition, the Nature Recovery Network programme will recover threatened animal and plant species and create and connect new green and blue spaces such as wetlands, ponds, meadows, woodlands, and peatlands. It will engage conservation rangers and environmentally focused community-based projects and put lost features like hedgerows and trees back into our landscapes. These restored habitats will help address climate change through capturing carbon, while improving the quality of our air, water, and soil, and provide natural flood protection. They will also provide us all with places to enjoy and connect with nature and helping to improve our health and wellbeing.
Of course, Ministers cannot deliver the Nature Recovery Network alone. They are providing new legislation, tools and funding, but it is together that we will deliver the network of wildlife-rich places that allow nature and people to flourish.
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