Legally binding targets to protect the environment, clean up air and rivers, and boost nature were published in December 2022 following extensive consultation as part of the government’s commitment to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.
This will hopefully drive forward action to tackle climate change, restore our natural capital and protect much-loved landscapes.
Publication of the targets follows three years of detailed consideration of the scientific and economic evidence, which was published in March 2022.
Sitting at the heart of the government’s Environment Act, the targets require us to:
Halt the decline in species populations by 2030, and then increase populations by at least 10% to exceed current levels by 2042
Restore precious water bodies to their natural state by cracking down on harmful pollution from sewers and abandoned mines and improving water usage in households
Deliver net zero ambitions and boost nature recovery by increasing tree and woodland cover to 16.5% of total land area in England by 2050
Halve the waste per person that is sent to residual treatment by 2042
Cut exposure to the most harmful air pollutant to human health – PM2.5
Restore 70% of designated features in Marine Protected Areas to a favourable condition by 2042, with the rest in a recovering condition.
Targets to cut harmful pollution reaching our rivers will help reach the aim for more water bodies to be in their natural state, with an 80% cut in total phosphorus pollution from wastewater treatments by 2038.
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey, speaking at the UN Convention, said:
“These targets are ambitious and will be challenging to achieve – but they will drive our efforts to restore our natural environment, protect our landscapes and green spaces, as well as help tackle climate change.”
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