Protection of grasslands

Date: 07.09.21 | in: Environment

The protection of grasslands is an issue I have raised frequently in the past, both through my work on the Environmental Audit Comittee and through my work on the Net Zero APPG.

I agree that we need to protect our grasslands. As you will know, species decline goes hand in hand with the decline of such species-rich habitats. I am concerned that the Government is not doing enough to protect native species and wildlife and that it lacks a serious plan to deliver a recovery for nature.

I support investment in the restoration of grasslands alongside many other forms of habitat such as saltmarsh, peatbog and mixed woodlands, as these offer excellent return for net biodiversity gain and rapid carbon storage.

I also believe that we need ambitious biodiversity targets. The Government has stated it will introduce a target for halting the decline of nature in England by 2030 to the Environment Bill. However, I do not think it is acting quickly enough, as it should set this target urgently and ahead of COP26 to meet the significant challenge of the nature emergency. I also believe it should not only halt the decline of nature, but reverse it with a dramatic incline in species abundance.

Species conservation plays a vital role in restoring biodiversity and enabling nature’s recovery and we need a strategic approach to species conservation through protecting, restoring and creating habitats over a wide area to meet the needs of individual species under protection. I am concerned that the Government does not have sufficient ambition on this and is taking a seemingly ad hoc approach.

More widely, I believe there is an urgent need for a coherent response to the climate and ecological emergency at COP26 in November. All over the world, unusual weather events show that dystopia is not on the horizon but here today. The collective ambition to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels must be translated into concrete action with an unequivocal promise to deliver. The world is looking to Britain, as host of the summit, to deliver, but I am concerned that the Government lacks sufficient action to meet this ambition.

In my view, we need a £30 billion investment in a green recovery from the pandemic to create hundreds of thousands of secure jobs nationwide while cutting the substantial majority of our emissions by the end of this decade.

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