Dorset coastline

UK nature bodies: Not too late to reverse biodiversity decline by 2030

Greater action, investment and embracing natural solutions are crucial to reversing biodiversity decline by 2030, the five UK statutory nature agencies have said in a new report published today.

It marks the first anniversary of the Leaders Pledge for Nature, which has been signed by over 80 Heads of State from around the world.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Natural England (NE), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), NatureScot and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) have together launched Nature Positive 2030.

The report sets out how the UK can meet its commitments in the Leaders Pledge for Nature and ensure that nature’s recovery plays a critical role in the country’s path to net zero.

Findings from the joint report shows that achieving nature commitments will deliver huge benefits to human health, wellbeing and the economy and will require transformative change across society and in the way the UK protects, values, uses and engages with nature.

The Nature Positive 2030 report draws on a wealth of experience and innovation in the UK to present solutions that can be scaled up to achieve change.

The report showcases the importance of utilising natural solutions to tackle climate change and highlighting the essential role of nature in helping us survive our ‘uncertain’ future and emphasising that nature’s ability to do so depends upon biodiverse ecosystems that are resilient to the changes ahead.

Delaying action for nature will lead to greater economic costs and increased environmental risks, the report said.

As well as this, it also stresses the important role of nature in supporting human health and wellbeing, as demonstrated through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nature Positive 2030 sets out the priority actions and achievable steps for becoming ‘nature positive’, reversing biodiversity decline by 2030 and concludes that the UK is currently not on track to becoming nature positive by 2030, but that this aim is achievable.

The report recommends nine changes that can be delivered rapidly, by national and local governments, landowners, businesses and others that will have particularly high impacts on reversing biodiversity loss this decade.

These are:

  • Ensuring wildlife thrives within protected areas on land and at sea.
  • Better conserve wildlife habitats outside protected areas, in particular those areas identified as parts of nature networks or as important blue/green infrastructure.
  • Investing in habitat restoration and creation to strengthen nature networks that deliver for biodiversity and climate change.
  • Ensuring outcomes for nature are integrated in development plans on land and at sea.
  • Tackling atmospheric and diffuse water pollution, especially from nitrogen and ammonia.
  • Developing the market for green finance.
  • Deploying nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation by default.
  • Developing the UK’s evidence base so that it is ready to support the larger, transformative changes underway.
  • Adopting targets to become nature positive.

The report stresses the need to put ambitions for nature recovery on the same footing as those for climate change.

It said that those individuals, businesses, cities and governments that are striving to become net zero need to become nature positive too, including through adopting targets for nature and taking nature positive actions.

This can be through establishing wildlife habitat on landholdings and gardens, ensuring nature is enhanced through supply chains and using the power in our wallets to choose nature-friendly options in what we buy.

The priority actions identified in Nature Positive 2030 are about building a nature-rich future, with restored ecosystems that are more resilient to climate change and provide more benefits to more people.

Commenting, Chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Professor Colin Galbraith said:

“This is a key year for nature, climate change and for our future wellbeing.

“This report makes a key contribution by showing how we can all help achieve a nature positive world.

“The report highlights a range of case studies from across the UK that demonstrate how we are already helping nature recover.

“Whilst these examples show what is being done, everyone can play a part in future, helping to achieve a nature positive world by 2030, every contribution counts.

“Importantly, the publication of the report provides an evidence base drawn from across the UK that supports the work to achieve ambitious global agreements for climate change and biodiversity at the forthcoming global conferences on biodiversity and on climate change.

“The report shows that the UK is leading by example and that the commitment to a nature positive world by 2030 is already creating examples of nature positive management on land and in our marine areas.”

Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper added:

“Nature recovery is within our grasp, we can become nature positive by 2030, provided we act now. We need to go high nature and low carbon, tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change together and today’s publication sets out how we can do this.

“In the past year, Heads of State from many countries, including from the UK, have made hugely important commitments to recover nature, in recognition that this is essential to our health, wellbeing and a sustainable, prosperous economy.

“Achieving these commitments will require transformative change across society and in the way we protect, value, use and engage with nature.

“We believe these commitments are achievable and our report shows how we can succeed in becoming nature positive by 2030 as an essential milestone on the path to full nature recovery.”

Nature Positive 2030 report:

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