Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has welcomed further Government measures to protect wildlife, and improve water and air quality, following the publication of 2023’s Environmental Improvement Plan.
The former Environment Secretary said the Defra plan builds on the Environment Bill she presented to Parliament and which has now become law.
In 2018, the Government published its 25-Year Environment Plan. The Environment Act stipulates this must be refreshed every five years. The 2023 Environment Improvement Plan is the first of those updates.
Theresa also signed up to the CPRE campaign to be a 'Hedgerow Hero' and the new plan announced an ambitious target of 65 to 80% of landowners and farmers adopting nature friendly farming practices on at least 10 to 15% of their land by 2030.
This would help create or restore 30,000 miles of hedgerows a year by 2037 and 45,000 miles of hedgerows a year by 2050.
“More than 50% of the UK's hedgerows have been lost since WWII. This announcement should help halt that decline and reinvigorate this key part of our biodiversity which is home to 2000 species,” said Theresa.
“The CPRE campaign has been successful in highlighting the importance of hedgerows and the role they play in allowing wildlife to move around the countryside as well as their pollution and carbon absorbing qualities.”
Other measures in the plan include: creating and restoring at least 500,000 hectares of new wildlife habitats, starting with 70 new wildlife projects, including 25 new or expanded National Nature Reserves, and 19 further Nature Recovery Projects.
Another key announcement relates to securing a clean and plentiful supply of water by tackling leaks, cracking down on storm overflow discharges, and boosting household water efficiency.
Councils will also be challenged to improve air quality and address urban area hotspots.
Theresa added: "These other measures are also very welcome. The UK is setting out world leading policies through the Environment Act and the 25-year plan that I hope others will follow.”