Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL), a collaborative group of conservation charities with over 80 members including Froglife has published a report reviewing the Governments 30×30 targets for conservation and biodiversity. The report (you can read it in full here) highlights that many protected sites continue to exist in a poor state and that the targets are increasingly unlikely to be achieved.
In 2020, the Government committed to protect at least 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030 (its 30×30 target). Three years on and with just six years to 2030, nature campaigners have assessed the progress made to date and this report identifies that action is falling far short of ambition, with the amount of land and sea protected for nature in 2023 plateauing. Just 3.11% of land (a small fall of 0.11% from 2022) and 8% of English seas are well protected for nature, leaving a huge gap to close to reach 30% by 2030.
Achieving 30×30 isn’t possible without all our protected landscapes playing a central role. The government need to take urgent action and use the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to give National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty the powers and purposes they need to bring themselves back to full health.
Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of WCL, said: “We are one year closer to 2030 and nature’s prognosis continues to look bleak. Progress toward 30×30 has stalled and the prospect of losing nature becomes increasingly likely in the face of a government which has taken a ‘hands off’ approach to environmental recovery. We need to see the leadership and action the UK Government preached internationally in Montreal last year practiced at home. 30×30 can still be achieved, but Government needs to start listening to its own advice and provide National Parks, AONBs and protected sites with the tools they need to actually allows them to actually deliver for nature.”
WCL continues to campaign for 5 key priorities for conservation, health and wellbeing which it highlighted in its Nature 2030 Report and calls again for political parties to sign up to the targets in the report as part of their manifestos for the next election.