As a general election year rapidly approaches, the Nature 2030 campaign sets out a five-point plan to restore nature by 2030 and asks to see these commitments being made in party manifestos.
The five key asks of political parties include: doubling the wildlife-friendly farming budget, making polluters pay for nature restoration, a large-scale green jobs creation scheme, increased protection and funding for wildlife sites and a new law guaranteeing environmental rights.
The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with more than one in seven native wildlife species facing extinction. In 2022, sewage was discharged for more than 2.4 million hours across England, Scotland and Wales – accounting for over 389,000 sewage spills. Commitments were set in 2021 to protecting 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030, but there’s a long way to go to meet these targets; with only seven years to go, just 3% of land and 4% of sea currently experience such protection. The Nature 2030 campaign and the coalition of supporters behind it are calling for stronger environmental leadership.
At The Rivers Trust we’ve pledged our support for the Nature 2030 campaign – and you can too by adding your name to the open letter being sent to all the main political parties. Add yours here: https://action.wildlifetrusts.org/page/131895/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=RiversTrust
Tessa Wardley, Director of Communications and Advocacy at The Rivers Trust, said, “Healthy rivers are at the centre of our battle to restore nature. The government has made significant promises to manage 30% of our land and water for nature and to halt the decline of nature by 2030, but current policy and delivery fall spectacularly short and won’t get us close to achieving that.
“The public are rightfully outraged by the state of our rivers and we need political parties to make firm commitments towards their recovery, which are then backed up by action. Delivering the Nature 2030 policies would significantly improve the health of our rivers, which are absolutely core to tackling the biodiversity, climate and wellbeing crises we face as a nation and planet.”
Other supporters of Nature2030 include Steve Backshall, Maya-Rose Craig, Chris Packam, Megan McCubbin, The Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust, Friends of the Earth, RSPB and National Trust.
Today, The Rivers Trust attended the Nature 2030 launch at Westminster, which featured speakers including The Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey, Natural Environment Minister Trudy Harrison, Alex Sobel MP and Caroline Lucas MP, Hillary McGrady and Craig Bennett. Reflecting the current public and media appetite for river water quality improvement, the majority of speakers commented on the need to restore our rivers and tackle sewage discharge and pollution as a key part of restoring nature as a whole. Much was said too on the need for government to act swiftly for the environment and the opportunity the election year presents for voters to demand that the incoming government shores up its plans for nature restoration and reversing biodiversity loss.
Speaking at Portcullis House today, Hillary McGrady, Director General of National Trust, noted, “So, if we are to be good ancestors, then we need to get this right and we need to act right now. And that’s where this plan comes in. None of it is new and untested – it does not need a superpower, it needs leadership and ambition.
“... As the election comes closer, we have to remember we’re shaping the future.”
Caroline Lucas MP hosted the event and announced that the Nature 2030 commitments will be reflected in the Green Party manifesto and echoed the feeling of many as she addressed the room, “Words on a page are not enough, it is implementation and delivery which really matter.”
Craig Bennett, CEO at The Wildlife Trusts, reflected on the interconnectedness of nature and community health, “Let’s make no mistake here, there will always be a crisis in the NHS for as long as there is a crisis with our polluted air and water. For as long as there is a lack of green space for people to have access to. For as long as nature is in decline. If any party wants to tell us how they are going to save the NHS, they are also going to have to tell us how they are going to save nature.”
The five commitments that the Nature 2030 campaign is seeking are:
- A pay rise for nature and farmers: Doubling the nature-friendly farming budget to £6bn pay for ambitious farm improvements and large-scale nature restoration.
- Making polluters pay: Putting a Nature Recovery Obligation in law, requiring polluting big businesses to deliver environmental improvement plans, and funding to counter the damage they cause to nature
- More space for nature by 2030: A 30x30 rapid delivery programme restoring protected sites and landscapes and creating a Public Nature Estate to fulfil the promise to protect 30% of the land and sea for nature, and deliver more nature in all communities.
- Delivering the green jobs we need: A National Nature Service, delivering wide scale habitat restoration and creating thousands of green jobs
- A Right to a Healthy Environment: establishing a human right to clean air and water and access to nature, building nature into decision making, enabling people to hold decision makers to account and driving changes that will recover nature and improve public health.
Click here to read the Nature2030 open letter and add your name to the list of us demanding parties prioritise environmental restoration.