New, long-term environmental targets have been announced by the Government to boost biodiversity, protect habitats, reduce water consumption and pollution, and halve waste. The new targets will be consulted on and, if supported, will be enshrined in law through the Environment Bill.

The Environment Bill received Royal Assent in November 2021 with the aim to strengthen the UK’s environmental protection ambitions following Brexit.

The proposed targets cover water, air quality and the diversity of our wildlife, including:

  • Improving the condition of rivers by reducing nutrient pollution and contamination from abandoned metal mines in water courses and improving water use efficiency;
  • Cleaner air through a target to reduce exposure to the most harmful air pollutant – PM2.5 – by over a third compared to 2018 levels; and
  • Halting the decline in wildlife populations through a legally binding target for species abundance by 2030 with a requirement to increase species populations by 10% by 2042.
  • halving the waste that ends up at landfill or incineration by 2042; and
  • increasing total tree cover by 3% by 2050.

The Environment Act put a key focus on driving forward nature’s recovery and new proposals will be set out in a Nature Recovery Green Paper which will support these ambitions.

The government’s response to the Green Paper and targets consultation closes on 27 June 2022 and the results are expected to be published in early summer 2022.

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