Today (November 18), plans were unveiled to help fuel the country’s green recovery. These include the expansion of protected landscapes, improved access to nature, greater resistance to flooding and the creation and maintenance of thousands of green jobs.
The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan also confirms that new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be created, as well as 10 landscape restoration projects. These initiatives bring us closer to protecting 30% of the UK’s land by 2030, adding 1.5% protection in England to our goal of an additional 400,000 hectares and the equivalent of over 30,000 football fields of wildlife restore.
In 2021, the government will begin the formal process of naming the new national parks and AONBs, which will identify the best candidates. This examines how new locations contribute to our broader nature, beauty, heritage and people goals.
A new additional £ 40 million investment in the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund has also been confirmed to create and maintain thousands of green jobs in areas such as tree planting, environmental education and habitat restoration such as bogs and wetlands. The successful projects from the first round of funding will be announced in the coming weeks.
£ 5.2 billion for flood protection will also help the country adapt to a changing climate, with a greater focus on nature-based solutions highlighted in the recent flood strategy.
Common Crane, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: We are determined to drive a green revolution by making the pandemic better and greener, and the Ten Point Plan provides a vital tool to build a cleaner and more resilient society. Our Green Recovery Challenge Fund received an overwhelming response, and this additional funding will help support even more environmental projects to deal with the natural and climate crisis.
Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England said: It is important that we put the recreation of nature at the center of national recreation and the Prime Minister’s ambitious plan to do just that is indeed very welcome. Investing in large-scale landscape restoration projects, creating protected areas, and employing hundreds of people to restore the natural environment will support the thriving new nature restoration network that we and others are promoting across the length and breadth of the country. A healthy natural environment is important not only for wildlife, but also for the health of society and our economy. By investing in nature, we can generate rich returns, for example in public health and wellbeing, by capturing carbon in the air, adapting to changing climates, ensuring supplies of clean water, promoting tourism and protect our future food security.
As the government takes action to accelerate the net zero, it is critical that steps are taken to adapt to the obvious effects of climate change. Investing in flood control protects homes, businesses and critical services from the disruption and economic impact of flooding.
The government has set itself the goal of building a nation that is better protected and more resilient to flooding. A record £ 5.2 billion flood and coastal protection investment was announced earlier this year to provide around 2,000 flood systems and better protect 336,000 properties. It has also put in place a comprehensive long-term plan to combat flooding and coastal erosion as the Environmental Protection Agency implements its new flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy to create a nation that can withstand the effects of climate change.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: The climate crisis is the greatest threat to the world economy. Additional funding to train people with key STEM skills will create sustainable jobs and keep the UK economy competitive. Today’s government commitments contribute to a greener coronavirus recovery. The country’s new flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy provides a long-term vision for improving the country’s resilience to the effects of climate change. Delivering on that vision, accelerating efforts to reach net zero and meeting the goals of the 25-year environmental plan for nature will show the world at COP26 that the UK is taking climate action at home.
Sir William Worsley, Chairman of the Forest Service, spoke of the opportunities offered by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund: I applaud the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan and look forward to working with our partners to advance the country’s green recovery. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund will support projects that create much-needed green jobs in the environmental and forestry sectors and help meet the government’s ambitious tree-planting and net-zero commitments. Through these initiatives, we are committed to ensuring that the right trees are planted in the right places for the right reasons – be it carbon sequestration; Wildlife homes, tree plantings near rivers to protect land and property from flooding; or providing wood, fuel and energy to businesses and communities.
Earlier this year, Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Agency set out their shared vision and pledged to work together to deliver nature-based solutions to climate change so that the government can fulfill its ambitions to hit zero by 2050 and net zero ahead of the international COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.
The government’s flagship environmental law puts the environment at the center of policymaking to ensure we have a cleaner, greener, and more resilient country for the next generation.
The landscape restoration projects will be established over the next four years through the government’s environmental land management program, which focuses on supporting incentives for sustainable agricultural practices, creating habitats for nature restoration, and helping to establish new forest and other ecosystem services, Addressing challenges such as climate change. This follows the landmark Agriculture Act that went into effect last week.
In addition to the actions set out in this plan, the government’s future agriculture and landscape program will continue to develop plans and programs that support the fulfillment of our environmental commitments and goals. More details will be available in November.
The government has pledged to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees per year by 2025. Our £ 640 million Nature for Climate Fund will help us increase planting in England in addition to bog restoration and nature restoration.