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"The days of fluffy wish lists must end" - Wildlife and Countryside Link reacts to Progress on Environmental Improvement Plan

19 January 2023

Reacting to today’s warning (19th January) from the OEP that Government progress to improve the environment ‘falls far short’ Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:

“The OEP has delivered a clear warning that rapid, concerted action and investment is needed across Government to deliver the big green promise of halting the decline of nature by 2030.

“To halt the decline of nature, the days of fluffy wish lists, and back-of-the-settee funding for nature policy must end. The Environmental Improvement Plan needs scientifically sound delivery plans to stop the decline in wildlife, backed by the funding to make it happen.

“Of course, that means getting the whole of Government pressing in the same direction. DEFRA can’t make a success of restoring nature while DLUHC dallies on planning reform, and while BEIS presses ahead with the destructive deregulatory agenda of the Retained EU Law Bill. The Prime Minister should sponsor the Environmental Improvement Plan and rally the whole of Government to deliver it."

Commenting further on delays to environmental policies, Dr Benwell added:

“There’s no doubt that a huge amount of Government time is already being wasted reviewing laws simply because of where they came from, regardless of whether or not they’re effective. That’s a huge actual cost and a huge opportunity cost. At a time when delay is endemic in DEFRA, the Department can ill-afford to devote time to the misguided Retained EU Law Bill. Every ounce of energy needs to go to getting back on track to halt the decline of nature by 2030.”

A sample of some of the measures that have been delayed:

  • Local Nature Recovery Strategies
  • Deposit Return Scheme
  • Due diligence on environmental commodities
  • Extended producer responsibility
  • Environmental Principles Policy Statement
  • Chemicals strategy

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