Yesterday the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, made a series of announcements that sowed seeds of hope for nature lovers. From pledging to add a legally-binding target for ‘more’ wildlife (species abundance) by 2030 into the upcoming Environment Bill to committing to a consultation on banning the sale of peat products in garden centres and other retail outlets; the Secretary of State’s speech was the first step on a long journey towards nature’s recovery.
Amongst a plethora of new targets and taskforces was an announcement that the Habitats Regulations in England would be “re-focused” to ensure they support the Government’s stated ambitions for nature. Whilst on the surface this may sound positive, it could be cause for alarm...
After his speech yesterday, the Secretary of State offered a firm guarantee that changes to these important nature protections would not mean any weakening or undermining of them.
He said that any amendments would be to ‘to maintain or to enhance the protections that we have.’