The new Westminster Environment Act deliver some wins that may prove vital in securing nature’s recovery – not least a watchdog to look out for nature’s interests, and the world’s first legal target to halt species decline in England.
The Westminster Environment Act has now received Royal Assent and we now have a brand new piece of legislation to govern the natural environment – the first in 20 years.
This is thanks to, in no small part one of the biggest campaigns by the environment movement since those that brought about the Marine and Climate Acts over a decade ago.
This crucial piece of legislation for England and Northern Ireland has been shaped by the RSPB's members and supporters who joined us in calling on the Government to do more to tackle the nature and climate emergency.
"The Environment Act will be our Government’s legacy and commitment to deliver on the ambition to revive our world. Familiar and once common species are vanishing from our lives as more and more of our precious wildlife is pushed to the brink. Through the pledges that have already come out of COP26 the Prime Minister has acknowledged that we are in a nature and climate emergency and must protect and restore nature as part of our response to climate change.
"Now is the time to act, the nature and climate emergency will not be solved by aspirations alone, which is why our members and supporters joined us in calling for the strongest possible Environment Act. As a result, we have seen the positive announcement of new legally binding targets to halt the alarming declines of England’s wildlife and stem the degradation of its wild spaces by 2030. The new environmental watchdog has been given more powers through the bill’s progress, but we remain concerned that without true independence this watchdog offers no guarantees it will always be free to hold future Governments to account in upholding the ambitions of our Prime Minister today. We all want and we all need to save nature, and decision makers must now deliver on the ambition of our new Environment Act."
Beccy Speight - chief executive