Almost a third of UK land to be protected for biodiversity

Prime minister Boris Johnson will today commit to protecting 30% of the UK's land by 2030 to support the recovery of biodiversity.


Protected areas already comprise around 26% of land in England, and this will now be increased by over 400,000 hectares, which is the size of the Lake District and South Downs national parks combined.

The announcement comes as the prime minister prepares to sign the 'Leaders Pledge for Nature' at a virtual UN event later today, committing to put “nature and biodiversity on a road to recovery” by 2030.

Johnson will warn that countries must act now to reverse devastating biodiversity loss and prevent more species from being lost forever, following a 68% decline in global wildlife populations since 1970 alone.

“We must turn these words into action and use them to build momentum, to agree ambitious goals and binding targets,” he will say.

“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 Leaders Pledge for Nature commits world leaders to take 10 urgent actions, including on sustainable food production, ending the illegal wildlife trade and implementing nature-based solutions for climate change.

The government said it would work with the devolved administrations to agree an approach across the UK, and with landowners and civil society to explore how best to increase the size and value of protected land.

This comes on the same day that the Wildlife Trusts launched a public appeal to raise £30m to start putting nature into recovery across at least 30% of land and sea by 2030.

The 30 by 30 projects will include repairing peatland to lock-up carbon and help wildlife, beaver reintroduction and farmland bird recovery, and converting low-grade agricultural land into nature areas near homes.

“The next 10 years must be a time of renewal, of rewilding our lives, of green recovery,” said Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts.

“We will buy land to expand and join-up our nature reserves; we’ll work with others to show how to bring wildlife back to their land, and we’re calling for nature’s recovery through a new package of policy measures.”


Image credit: iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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