Climate & Ecology Bill reaches final stage at House of Lords

If given royal assent, the legislation could ensure biodiversity loss in the UK is halted and reversed by 2030. 

On Friday, the Climate and Ecology Bill passed through the committee stage at the House of Lords after being presented by liberal democrat Lord Redesdale.

It would require the government to meet nature targets, measured against a baseline of 2020, and would jointly tackle both the climate and biodiversity crises by restoring ecosystems.

‘The UK is one of the most nature-depleted nations on earth,’ said Lord Redesdale in the House of Lords. ‘That is a horrendous thing to say in this House, when we are so proud of our green and pleasant land. More than 40% of UK species are in decline. More than 600 million birds have been lost from our skies over the past 40 years, which is a staggering statistic, and a quarter of UK mammals are threatened with extinction.’

After its passing, the bill is expected to head to the House of Commons in early 2023, where Sir Roger Gale MP will be sponsoring it.

shallow focus photography of brown squirrel

Initially the bill had proposed to outline national carbon budgets for the UK and called for an end to fossil fuels, but this has been pared back and the legislation now focuses solely on boosting nature.

It received widespread, cross-party support in the House of Lords, with Labour’s Baroness Blake agreeing with the decision to simplify the bill by removing clauses which were more climate focused.

She said: ‘As we have heard, we are one of the most nature-depleted nations on earth. Much damage has already been done, and letting it continue would be even more alarming.

‘Taking the public with us is so important in this agenda and, as we have discussed previously, a wider communication and education strategy is so important as we go forward.

‘The Government should back the Bill and commit fully to what is necessary to save our natural environment.’

Crossbencher, Lord Green, said the government has been forthright in calling for nature loss to be halted globally, as it heads to Montreal’s biodiversity conference COP15, but more needed to be done in our own country.

He said: ‘Here in the UK, only just over half our natural biodiversity is still intact, placing us last in the G7 and in the bottom 10% worldwide, because so much of our land has been given over to sometimes marginal agriculture or monoculture conifer plantations.

‘At this point we might be tempted to throw up our hands and give up, but the crucial point is that this is a fixable problem. We have the science and the solutions, and we know that—given the chance before it is too late—environmental diversity responds and recovers quite well.

‘Inevitably, we have to act in our own backyard and not just on the international stage. That is why I support the Bill’s intent in setting clear, robust targets for the UK, even as it champions robust targets at the global level.’

The Director of Zero Hour, the campaign group which has supported the bill throughout, Dr Amy McDonnell, said: ‘We’ve taken a huge stride forward – both in terms of drawing together civil society to help push for the urgent nature targets that Zero Hour are calling for, as well as seeing the bill itself – with its nature focus – progress into its next stage in the House of Lords.’

Photo by Uljana Borodina


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