As a loving owner of a cocker spaniel, I share your concerns and support for animals and biodiversity in nature. One of my favourite things to do with my children is go for long walks along the dramatic Anglesey coastline, and I want there to be even more of our beautiful wildlife for them to enjoy in the future.
To support biodiversity on our island I have met with Sian Sykes from Plastic Free Anglesey and Frankie Hobro from Seazoo who are both committed to biodiversity. I am keen to support people like them and their projects here on the island.
Biodiversity and the environment are absolute priorities for this Government. That is why they recently announced that by 2030, 30% of British land will be reserved for nature and wildlife. The Government assessment of the UK’s progress towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets shows five targets on track and 14 targets progressing. However, I know more must be done and Ministers are determined to do more.
The UK is playing a leading role in developing an ambitious new global biodiversity framework and putting nature at the heart of our COP 26 presidency, paving the way for transformative action to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. In England, significant funding and new legislation has been announced to transform how nature is managed and protected.
I am pleased that one million hectares of our best freshwater and terrestrial habitats are now being conserved through protected sites designations and 36 per cent of English inshore and offshore waters are now within Marine Protected Areas. Species recovery projects are ongoing, for example on freshwater pearl mussels, short-haired bumblebees and stone curlews, and new funding is available for woodland expansion and peatland restoration. Funding has also been increased for international biodiversity conservation.
The 25-Year Environment Plan commits the UK Government to even more. Internationally the UK Government is investing more than £36 million between 2014 and 2021 to counter illegal wildlife trade and is calling for an increase from 10 per cent to 30 percent of the world’s oceans to be in marine protected areas by 2030, while leading in the fight against plastic pollution.
At home, a new Environment Bill will put environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government and a new Nature Recovery Network will provide an expanding and increasingly connected network of places for wildlife to thrive. I understand that there are many stressors on planetary health and mitigating and adapting to climate change is one of the fundamental goals of the Plan.