Nature targets welcome but ambition will need to grow over time


Responding to the publication of the UK Government’s long-term environmental targets published, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today’s publication of the UK’s long-term targets is a significant milestone in the journey to reverse the decline of the natural environment. The publication of the targets during the COP15 summit in Montreal should empower the UK negotiation team to push for ambitious progress at a time when global progress on nature and biodiversity restoration is critical. The introduction of the species abundance targets should be particularly welcome in this regard.”

Nick Molho added: “While the publication of the targets is a significant step forward, work remains to be done to strengthen the targets over time and plug some important gaps. In particular, the water quality targets could be made more effective by being more outcomes focused and the Government should keep open the possibility of increasing ambition on the species abundance targets. The overall framework should be strengthened over time by introducing a few key missing targets include a national apex target to improve water quality, a resource productivity target to improve resource efficiency across the economy and a target to improve the conditions of Sites of Special Scientific Interest to support the country’s biodiversity ambitions.”

Nick Molho concluded: “Whilst improvements will need to be made to the suite of targets in the coming years, it is now vital that the Government focuses now on delivery. The upcoming environmental improvement plan (EIP) expected in January must set a clear regulatory framework and guide investment decisions over the next 5 years. To be effective, the EIP must provide a greater level of detail than its predecessor, the 25 Year Environment Plan. In particular, it should set meaningful interim targets for the next 5 years and put forward a tangible mix of policies, smart regulations and market mechanisms that businesses can tangibly invest against to deliver environmental improvements and create good quality jobs in the process.”