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Leaders of environmental organisations meet with Sir Keir Starmer

12 January 2024

On 9th January, the CEOs of five environmental organisations met with Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party and Steve Reed, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to discuss the policy interventions needed to achieve net zero by 2050 and to halt the decline of nature by 2030.

The meeting opened with a statement of commitment from Labour to achieving net zero and to preserving nature and wildlife in Britain. The CEOs emphasised the importance of the Green Prosperity Plan and the centrality of investment for growth to the future of the UK’s economy, and its potential to lower bills and restore nature.

The environmental organisations went on to highlight how the nature goals in particular could be achieved through the following priority areas:

- Reforming the farming budget to better reward climate and nature friendly farming choices.
- Investing £1bn per year in habitat restoration, to sequester carbon and grow and connect spaces for wildlife.
- Establishing a new regulatory framework to drive private sector investment in species and nature recovery.
- Creating new nature-rich communities through the planning system and giving more people access to green and blue spaces.

The discussion covered a number of further issues, including the need to embrace environmental solutions to prevent flooding, the new jobs and opportunities that will be created by sustained progress to meeting the UK’s legally binding nature targets, and the importance of providing long-term policy certainty for business and investment.

The environmental CEOs thanked Sir Keir Starmer and Steve Reed for considering these issues closely. The organisations at the meeting continue to work with all political parties to prevent further climate and ecological breakdown, and the environmental, economic and social damage this will cause.

The following environmental CEOs were present at the meeting:

Hilary McGrady, Director General, National Trust
Beccy Speight, CEO, RSPB
Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF UK
Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance
Richard Benwell, CEO, Wildlife and Countryside Link

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