The Wildlife Trusts’ chief executive, Craig Bennett, responded to the Government announcement saying:
“The headline commitment from the Prime Minister to protect 30 per cent of the UK’s land for biodiversity by 2030 is very welcome – it’s a good start. But the Government seems to think there is more land currently protected for nature than is actually the case. Our National Parks and AONBs are landscape not wildlife designations, and many of these places are severely depleted of wildlife because of overgrazing, poor management or intensive agricultural practices. Our Sites of Special Scientific Interest are supposed to be protected for nature but even around half of these are in a poor state and suffering wildlife declines.
“We now need to see a much greater level of urgent action on the ground to deliver on the ambition set out by the Prime Minister, and to put nature into recovery. This means rescuing the wildlife sites currently in decline, while also making more space for nature through a new wildlife designation called Wild Belt, specifically aimed at putting nature in recovery – protecting and connecting nature right across the country.”