We must use our departure from the European Union to create a green country, where our environmental standards are not only maintained but enhanced. The Agriculture Bill will enable a balance between food production and the environment which will safeguard our countryside and farming communities for the future. The Bill sets out how farmers and land managers in England will be paid public money for “public goods,” rewarding them for the work they do to safeguard our environment. This will help our country to meet crucial goals on climate change while also protecting nature and biodiversity.
The Environment Bill will place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of Government. I am glad that legislative measures will be introduced to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age, including nature recovery. This will ensure that we can deliver on the commitment to leave the natural world in a better condition than we found it.
In the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government committed to developing a Nature Recovery Network and, in the long term, to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside the protected site series. A new framework for Local Nature Recovery Strategies will be legislated for in the Environment Bill, to help support the Nature Recovery Network and will work to better direct investment in the environment and green infrastructure. This will allow for the creation of places that are richer in wildlife and provide wider benefits for local communities.
The Environment Bill will also require the preparation and publication of Local Nature Recovery Strategies, mapping nature-rich habitats, so that investment can be targeted where it will make the most difference. These local plans will embrace local knowledge to strengthen links between neighbouring communities and support the wider Network.
Finally, the Government will establish a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund. This Fund will be used to dramatically increase tree-planting rates in England with more research into the most appropriate species to plant across the country.