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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 130822, tabled on 16 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help restore the UK’s biodiversity; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

11 January 2021

Domestic biodiversity policy is a devolved matter, and the information provided relates to England only.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step change in ambition for biodiversity and the natural environment in England. This Government is taking a wide range of steps to deliver on this ambition.

Our landmark Environment Bill introduces a powerful package of policies and tools to support nature's recovery. Biodiversity net gain, local nature recovery strategies, conservation covenants and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities will work together to drive local action on the ground that creates or restores wildlife-rich habitats. This action will be supported by a new framework for setting long term legally binding targets, including on biodiversity, to make sure that our ambition is maintained.

We have introduced new funding for nature, such as the Nature for Climate and the Green Recovery Challenge Funds. The first £40 million round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund has been extremely successful. The fund has received a high-level of interest and we have been able to fund 68 high quality projects across England. For example, The Woodland Trust is being awarded £3,860,200 to restore ancient woodlands and trees across England. Following this success, the Government doubled the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to £80 million, kick-starting a further pipeline of nature-based projects to restore nature, tackle climate change and connect people with the natural environment.

We are developing a new Environmental Land Management scheme that will incentivise farmers and land managers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. The Prime Minister recently announced, as part of his 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, that over the next four years we will establish 10 Landscape Recovery projects to help us restore wilder landscapes.

In English waters there are 178 Marine Protected Areas protecting 40% of our seas. We have now essentially completed building our comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas and are focusing on making sure they are protected properly.