Boris Johnson has pledged to protect 30% of the UK’s land in order to support the recovery of nature.
Existing national parks and other protected areas currently make up 26% of land in England, in order to support the recovery of nature, the Prime Minister has pledged to increase this to 30%.
This will see the protection of a further 400,000 hectares of land – an area the size of the Lake District and South Downs national parks combined.
This announcement comes as the Prime Minister is set to sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature at a virtual United Nations event later today (September 28).
The Prime Minister is expected to say: ‘We must turn these words into action and use them to build momentum, to agree ambitious goals and binding targets.
‘We must act now – right now. We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a frightening rate. Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all.
Extinction is forever – so our action must be immediate.’
The Pledge for Nature commits world leaders to take ten urgent actions, including on sustainable food protection, nature-based climate change solutions and ending the illegal wildlife trade.
The government will work with the Devolved Administrations to agree on an approach across the UK to explore how best to increase the size and value of protected land.
Tanya Steele, chief executive of WWF-UK said: ‘It’s right that the Prime Minister is making the protection of nature a priority, particularly at this critical time with our planet in crisis.
‘Nature is at the heart of all our lives, but WWF’s 2020 Living Planet Report shows that it is in freefall, with the UK one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
‘This announcement is a welcome step, but it must be backed up by urgent ambition, including strong legislation to avoid damaging trade deals and to stop the food we eat from destroying the environment here and abroad.
‘Only then can we meet our climate targets, put nature on the path to recovery and set our sights on global leadership at COP 26.’
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