News / Climate change and nature

One third of land and a National Nature Service needed to combat biodiversity loss

PM commits to 4% more UK land for nature and environment groups call for a National Nature Service to help with the green recovery.

Photo credit: Pexels

Photo credit: Pexels

The Government has committed to protecting 30 per cent of the UK’s land by 2030. Existing National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected areas already comprise approximately 26% of land in England. The Government has committed to an additional 4% – over 400,000 hectares – being protected to support the recovery of nature.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister is set to sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature at a virtual United Nations event on 28 September, committing to put nature and biodiversity on a road to recovery by 2030. There has been a 68% decline in global wildlife populations since 1970 alone.

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

Meanwhile, with UK unemployment expected to reach high levels by the end of December due to Covid-19, a coalition of wildlife and environmental groups are calling for a National Nature Service. This would be an employment and training scheme for tens of thousands of jobseekers, particularly young people and those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, to be employed and trained in environmental projects designed to level up access to nature, address social and health inequalities and fast-track ecosystem restoration, helping to lock away carbon and tackle climate change.

A letter to the Chancellor in June 2020, supported by Sustain and many of our members, demonstrated considerable cross sector support for the proposed National Nature Service, from environment charities, youth unions and diversity groups to businesses, local authorities and farmers.

Climate change and nature: Sustain has taken a keen interest in the rapidly accumulating evidence about the effect of food and farming on climate change and nature, as scientific evidence emerges that our food system is a very significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.

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