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Comment: Environmental Improvement Plan

31 January 2023

Reacting to the Government’s publication of its Environmental Improvement Plan, Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said:

“Today’s publication of the Environmental Improvement Plan is a key milestone in reversing nature decline and protecting precious habitats. I very much welcome this renewed focus on a holistic approach that places nature recovery at the heart of Government action and policy delivery.

“The targets – and interim targets - outlined today must be met if the plan to leave the environment in a better state than we found it is to succeed. However, as we – and many others – have pointed out previously, the targets are only worthwhile if they are met and have the backing of all departments across Government: urgent delivery is crucial this decade.

“18 months ago, our Committee emphasised the importance of access to nature to underpin our appreciation of wildlife and ecosystems, and the commitment that we will never be further than a 15 minute walk from green spaces or water is therefore welcome news. Acquiring knowledge of nature should be embedded in our national curriculum, and I am pleased that the Government has accepted our Committee’s recommendation to introduce a Natural History GCSE.

“With the intensity of heatwaves and subsequent droughts likely to get more severe with climate change, it is right that the issue of water security is high on the agenda. Nearly 2.5 billion litres of water is lost through leaks every day, and getting a grip on this waste is critical. Households must also be as efficient as possible with the water they use, and I look forward to seeing the Government’s plans to address this.

“The health of our waterways is suffering with high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, and the targets to address this need to be met in order to limit the dangerous build up which is damaging to habitats and wildlife.

“I look forward to probing this Environmental Improvement Plan with Natural England’s Chief Executive at the EAC hearing tomorrow and the Secretary of State at our timely hearing next week.”

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