Responding to the Queen’s Speech today, Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“This was the third successive Queen’s Speech which has promised to pass an Environment Bill. With half of wildlife already in long-term decline, there's no time to lose – the Government must bring the Bill back as a matter of urgency – and proceed to deliver it as quickly as possible. We cannot tackle the climate crisis and meet our net zero target without similar ambition to meet the nature crisis head on – the two are inseparable. If the Government wants to keep its commitment to passing the Bill ahead of the COP26 climate change conference in November, we must see the Bill back in Parliament before the end of this month.
“We also hope the Government has used the delay to strengthen the Bill when it returns. Despite the Prime Minister’s ambition to be a world leader, we live in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. The Bill must put in law the Prime Minister’s commitment to turn around nature’s decline by 2030. A clear, legally-binding target to reverse the loss of nature within a decade would ensure every part of Government takes urgent action to help bring nature back.
“New legislation to modernise the planning system must also help our efforts to tackle the nature and climate crisis. The obstacle to house building is not environmental protections, but turning the vast unused planning permissions into homes. The Planning Bill must contribute to the recovery of nature through a new Wildbelt – a bold designation which will protect land that’s put into recovery for nature, helping to tackle climate change and levelling-up access to green space.”