Gove calls on the world to reverse nature’s decline – our reactions

Yesterday, Michael Gove made a speech calling on the world to take action to reverse nature’s decline. Here are our reactions to his speech.

Wildflower meadow in June at Castle Coole, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. ©National Trust Images/Robert Morris

Patrick Begg, the National Trust’s Director of Outdoors and Natural Resources, said “the Secretary of State’s speech yesterday puts a clear stake in the ground for the significant environmental progress the government has made, and that he has helped to drive – from legislating for net zero emissions to the publication of the 25 Year Environment Plan. But uncertainty dominates on the horizon and in the foreground – from a new Prime Minister in Number 10 in the next few days to the ongoing Brexit process. 

 “The Secretary of State was right in signalling that the UK can be an international environmental leader if 2020 the next Prime Minister puts their support and energy behind improving the Environment Bill and getting it passed – including ambitious environmental targets. This will be key in turning laudable environmental ambition into new laws that can drive action on the ground – from transforming the farming system to restore soils and water, to strong environmental targets and a robust watchdog with teeth that can enforce our environmental laws.

“The Secretary of State was right that much more needs to be done to get the UK’s house in order – from changing the farming system to support environmental outcomes – something we have long called for – to making sure the planning system looks after nature better. While habitats like our peatlands remain in a poor condition and continue to haemorrhage carbon into the atmosphere, the solid footing that has been established could quickly be tripped up by a lack of delivery.”

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