Report finds government policy falls short of addressing nature decline

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) in its report published on 30 June 2021 found that existing Government policy and targets are inadequate to address plummeting biodiversity loss. This is made worse by nature policy not being joined up across Government, nor is nature protection consistently factored into policy-making.

The report highlights the need for urgent action to deal with the nature crisis and calls on Government to:

  • introduce statutory interim targets – met by every Government department – to ensure that its proposed species abundance target is met to halt the decline of nature by 2030.
  • implement a preferred approach to data management and monitoring, to strengthen a consistent evidence base on the UK’s natural capital. The data should inform decision-making in Government far more substantially than at present.
  • provide a comprehensive, consistent, and time-bound record of funding for the 25 Year Environment Plan.
  • explain how and when it will move to embed environmental net gain in the planning system, including a call to strengthen local authority capacity and enforcement mechanisms to deliver biodiversity net gain.

The report also identifies the need to address soil health and picks up on Dieter Helm’s latest thinking on carbon net gain, more information about which can be found here.

While the report recognises that policies such as those outlined in the 25 Year Environment Strategy and the Environment Bill are a welcome start, in their current form they do not represent the transformative change required to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. The report calls for action to be stepped up in scale, ambition, pace, and detail.

Natural Cambridgeshire, working with partners, remains committed to delivering the Doubling Nature vision for Cambridgeshire including implementing measures for biodiversity monitoring, attracting inward investment, supporting policy implementation and engaging communities in nature recovery.

The EAC is a select committee of the House of Commons in the UK Parliament. The remit of the committee is to examine how government departments’ policies and programmes affect both the environment and sustainable development.

A full copy of the report can be found here.