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Wildlife and Countryside Link reacts to COP28 Nature Day announcements from Government

9 December 2023

Following the announcement of the UK’s roadmap to protecting 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030, nature coalition group Wildlife and Countryside Link has welcomed the announcement, but called for urgent action to restore protected nature sites currently in poor condition. The group has also highlighted the need for a massive boost in funding for nature

Link's recent progress update
 on protecting land and sea for nature concluded that just over 3% of land is well-managed for nature, if you take into account the condition of habitats in protected sites. Realistic plans for restoring those sites to good ecological condition would be needed to ensure that the Government’s figure of 8.5% represents real benefits for nature.

Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:

"A roadmap to protect 30% of land and sea for nature is a positive step and shows good leadership. However, it also highlights the huge challenge ahead. The target is only meaningful if it comes with a plan to restore the two thirds of protected sites that are not in good condition. This will take a major increase in public funding and regulation.

"We've yet to see a credible delivery plan from Government but hope that today's announcement will herald new commitment. At sea, that means delivering the long-promised byelaws to stop industrial fisheries, and other damaging activities like fossil fuel developments in protected nature sites. On land, it means more ambition in support for nature friendly farming and an increase in the vanishing 0.031% of GDP that the UK spends in protecting its most important asset - biodiversity.”

On measures to tackle illegal deforestation, Benwell added:

“The ban on products linked to illegal deforestation is brilliant and should help safeguard the future of wonderful wildlife around the world. We look forward to the Government bringing forward legislation to implement it as soon as possible and hope this will be the first step in ensuring that major corporations rid their supply chains of products and processes that put our natural world at risk.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Wildlife and Countryside Link (Link) is the largest environment and wildlife coalition in England, bringing together 82 organisations to use their strong joint voice for the protection of nature. Our members campaign to conserve, enhance and access our landscapes, animals, plants, habitats, rivers and seas. Together we have the support of over eight million people in the UK and directly protect over 750,000 hectares of land and 800 miles of coastline.
  2. The 2023 30x30 in England progress report can be found here.

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