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Nature Conservation: Urban Areas

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 126571, tabled on 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to create wildlife habitats in urban areas.

Answered on

3 March 2022

This Government is committed to halting the decline of nature by 2030, and so is acting across a range of policies to create more wildlife habitats, including in urban areas.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan includes a commitment to establish a Nature Recovery Network. This Network will be a bigger, better quality and increasingly connected network of places that are richer in wildlife, support the recovery of our species and are more resilient to climate change and other pressures. It will benefit wildlife by increasing, improving and connecting wildlife-rich habitats across England, including in urban areas.

At the core of the Network will be our existing best areas for nature, including protected sites and National Nature Reserves. We will also create or restore 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat beyond these, in both urban and rural areas. To support this, we are putting in place Local Nature Recovery Strategies to ensure we establish habitat in the best place for wildlife.

The Government is also taking action to mandate biodiversity net gain in planning and development. Biodiversity net gain will require that development results in a 10% increase gain in biodiversity above the existing baseline. This will further support the creation or enhancement of additional habitat in urban areas, providing an important contribution to the overall Nature Recovery Network.

Our Nature for Climate Fund, backed by over £750 million, is also supporting the creation of woodland habitat near and in urban areas. This includes England’s network of 13 Community Forests to create nearly 7,000 hectares of new trees and woodlands by 2025 in and around the towns and cities.