A plan to create better habitats and join up the homes of some of England’s most iconic wildlife has been published today by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.
‘Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services’ aims to halt the loss of England’s habitats and species, and follows up the groundbreaking global agreement reached at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.
Caroline Spelman played a leading role in securing the agreement reached in Nagoya, chairing a working group to agree a strategic plan to address the loss of wildlife across the world.
All signatories to the historic Nagoya agreement pledged to produce a strategy to tackle wildlife loss in their own country to reduce the loss of species and habitats by 2020. England is one of the first countries in the world to fulfil this commitment.
Launching Biodiversity 2020, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:
“Our wildlife is not only something that we should value because it’s nice to look at. Nature underpins our very existence, giving us clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and healthy food to eat.
“This strategy sets out how we will stop the loss of species and habitats, so that this generation can be the first to leave our natural environment in a better state than they found it.”
The England Biodiversity Strategy’s ambitious goals include:
• Creating better habitats: 90 per cent of priority habitats will be in a favourable or recovering condition with a minimum of 50 per cent of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in favourable condition by 2020;
• Bigger and better wildlife sites: an extra 200,000 hectares of priority habitats will be created and there will be no overall loss of habitats that are a priority to save;
• Adapting to climate change: A minimum of 15 per cent of very poor wildlife sites will be restored to help adapt for and mitigate against climate change; and
• A joined up approach: at least 17 per cent of land and inland water will be improved through more effective and integrated management including the creation of Nature Improvement Areas.
Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ahmed Djoghlaf, said:
“In Nagoya, the global community adopted 20 ambitious Aichi Targets under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and countries were called upon to translate these into national biodiversity strategies. The UK is one of the first countries to respond, with the National Ecosystem Assessment, the Natural Environment White Paper and now with the updated Biodiversity Strategy for England. I’m very pleased to see that in line with the Aichi Targets, England’s new biodiversity strategy includes clear quantitative targets as well as priority actions to address pressures from agriculture, forestry and fisheries.”
The England Biodiversity Strategy will help meet the Nagoya commitments and achieve the plans set out in the recently published Natural Environment White Paper.
Today also sees the launch of a national wildlife gardening competition, set out in the Natural Environment White Paper as a way to encourage more people to make sure their gardens are providing a good home for animals and birds as well as recreation space for people.
The competition will be run by The Wildlife Trusts and The Royal Horticultural Society with funding from Defra. Entry is open to all with categories for both small and large residential gardens, and for educational, community and business gardens.
Entries for the Big Wildlife Garden competition - which closes on Sunday 20 May 2012 - can be submitted from today. Prizes include a gardening masterclass at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where the prize-giving ceremony will take place, along with membership of The Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society.
The England Biodiversity Strategy and associated documents are available here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/biodiversity/. A set of indicators has also been published to assess progress with the outcomes and actions set out in the Strategy. This is accompanied by a technical discussion document inviting comments on the detail of the indicators.
Entries to the Big Wildlife Garden competition can be submitted on the following website: http://www.bigwildlifegarden.org.uk/wildlife-garden-competition.
The Natural Environment White Paper, ‘The Natural Choice’, was published on 7 June 2011 and can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/whitepaper/.