Environmental goals are “far short” of the government’s expectations.

A watchdog has issued a warning that government efforts to improve England’s environment and safeguard the natural world are “far short” of what is required.

Additionally, the nation is experiencing a “deeply concerning decline in biodiversity,” according to an independent report from the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

It found that many of the 23 environmental goals set by the government were highly unlikely to be met.

The government stated that it would carefully consider the report.

The study looked at 32 environmental factors, from the number of species to improvements in air and water quality, and found that nine trends were getting better, 11 were staying the same, and eight were getting worse. There was insufficient data to make an accurate assessment in four areas.

“The situation is poor across the board, with adverse trends across marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments,” it said.

It determined that 14 of the 23 environmental targets it examined were “off track,” and the remaining nine could not be evaluated because there was insufficient evidence.

A Defra spokesperson stated that the agency would release a new environmental improvement plan later this month that would assist it in achieving its goals of protecting the natural world, combating climate change, and halting the population decline of species by 2030.

The report demonstrated, according to Wildlife and Countryside Link CEO Richard Benwell, that “rapid, concerted action and investment” were required to achieve environmental goals.

“To halt the decline of nature, the days of fluffy wish lists, and back-of-the-settee funding for nature policy must end,” he added.

According to the OEP, which was established by the 2021 Environment Act to hold the government and other public entities accountable, the government had failed “frequently” to meet its own legally binding targets.

It claimed that the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the rising cost of living had made the environmental strategy at Defra and across the government less coherent.

“Overall, we do not think the current pace and scale of action will deliver the changes necessary to improve the environment in England significantly,” the report said.

The OEP’s chair, Dame Glenys Stacey, stated that in order to ensure that targets were met, coordinated action at all government levels and improved data collection and monitoring were required.

“Progress on delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan has fallen far short of what is needed to meet government’s ambition to leave the environment in a better state for future generations,” she said.

Despite some improvements in air quality and people’s engagement with nature, she said: “Many extremely worrying environmental trends remain unchecked, including a chronic decline in species abundance.”

A spokesperson for Defra cited the accomplishments it had made since the publication of its 25-year environmental plan in 2018, such as increasing tree planting rates, restoring peatland, and funding nature recovery projects covering more than 120,000 hectares.

“The comprehensive action this government will take to reverse the decline in nature, achieve our net zero goals and deliver cleaner air and water” will be outlined in a new environmental improvement plan that will be launched at the end of the month.


At Natural World Fund, we are passionate about stopping the decline in our wildlife.

The declines in our wildlife is shocking and frightening. Without much more support, many of the animals we know and love will continue in their declines towards extinction.

When you help to restore a patch of degraded land through rewilding to forests, meadows, or wetlands, you have a massive impact on the biodiversity at a local level. You give animals a home and food that they otherwise would not have had, and it has a positive snowball effect for the food chain.

We are convinced that this is much better for the UK than growing lots of fast-growing coniferous trees, solely to remove carbon, that don’t actually help our animals to thrive.

This is why we stand for restoring nature in the UK through responsible rewilding. For us, it is the right thing to do. Let’s do what’s right for nature!

Support our work today at https://naturalworldfund.com/ and join in the solution!


Leave A Comment