Ministers warned England set to miss wildlife and biodiversity targets

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2023-06-10 06:00:14  • 5 mins

England will not meet its biodiversity targets at current rates, the chair of Natural England has said, as he accused ministers of moving too slowly to regenerate nature.

Tony Juniper, who has been in post at the governments nature quango since 2019, said ministers were not on track to meet species abundance targets, which have been criticised by wildlife charities as embarrassingly poor.

The government has set a legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and committed to increasing the abundance of wildlife by 10% by 2042 compared with 2030 levels.

Juniper said: Were not moving with the speed that will be needed to meet the 2030 species target. And were going to have to work much harder to be able to do that.

He said ministers needed to work quickly to be able to fix the conflicts between farming and nature. This is about reconciling, again, some really quite complicated conundrums, including how, for example, we can maintain a high level of domestic food production at the same time as bringing wildlife back into the landscape, he said. And some of this is about policy. Some of it is about knowledge. Some of it is about culture. Its a transition that can be made. But it does need to go more quickly than presently is the case if were going to meet those 2030 targets.

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