Calling for nature’s restoration with the Environment Bill
A new law that could help to reverse the declines and avert the catastrophic impacts of widespread nature loss.
Credit: Robert Read / WTML
Our natural world is being depleted at an alarming rate. The Environment Bill is a vital opportunity to help save it. It’s the most significant piece of environmental legislation for years.
What's the problem?
Loud and clear warning signs are sounding throughout nature. Declines in woodland wildlife and nature are following a trend seen across the whole of the natural world.
Our landmark report on the State of UK Woods and Trees brings into focus the many and compounding threats facing our woods and trees. Read the key findings and stats at a glance.
Eye opening trends include the steep decline of woodland butterflies like white admiral, heath and pearl-bordered fritillaries. Marsh tit numbers have declined 70% since 1970.
What is the Environment Bill and how can it help?
The Environment Bill addresses environmental protection and the delivery of the Westminster Government's 25 year environment plan following Brexit. It is English legislation but will have far-reaching impacts and set a precedent for similar bills that will likely follow elsewhere in the UK.
It aims to create a cleaner, greener, more resilient country for the next generation. But it is missing any legally binding targets and must be strengthened.
After a lengthy delay, this new legislation for our natural world has been progressing through parliamentary process throughout 2021.
Campaigning win: a target for nature
After thousands joined our call to put nature’s recovery into law, the Government has amended the Environment Bill to include a legally binding target to halt nature’s decline. Thanks to everyone who took action, the change will create a new driving force to take action for our trees and woods, peat bogs, meadows, rivers and more.
We’re so grateful to the 200,000 people who joined us in pressing Boris Johnson to include the legally binding target. Thank you.
Legal protection of ancient woods and trees
In the final stages of the bill’s passage, we had a huge opportunity to turn things around for our ancient woods and trees, and all the life that relies on them.
The House of Lords voted in favour of an amendment that would've given ancient woods and veteran trees legal protection. It would have been transformational for our work protecting these irreplaceable habitats.
But the amendment was removed by Government on 20 October 2021, despite MPs receiving more than 5,000 emails from Woodland Trust supporters calling for its inclusion.
However, the Government did accept the need to act on the issue and committed to a number of positive measures to start addressing the issue. These include requiring local planning authorities to consult the Secretary of State before approving a planning application that affects ancient woodland.
Thank you to everyone who contacted their MP and made sure that the barrage of threats facing ancient woods and trees couldn’t be ignored.
Read more in our press release on the welcome new commitments.