STATEMENT: Protect nature and climate for communities to thrive

Responding to announcements that have raised concerns about the future of protections for nature and plans to tackle climate change, Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national chief executive, said:

To protect our communities and improve our quality of life we need to restore nature and deliver a just transition to net zero. We share the concerns of many that the commitments the Government has made to both might be under threat. Access to nature is highly unequal and the impacts of climate change are felt most by those who are already vulnerable.

Rather than removing protections, we should be going further to ensure everyone can benefit from a better quality environment and a greener economy. We want to see green infrastructure and low carbon jobs at the heart of new ‘investment zones’ and plans for growth focused on renewables, retrofitting and the circular economy.

Concerns have been raised by:

  • New legislation, the Retained EU Law Bill, which means that environmental protections from EU law which have not been made part of UK law will be lost.
  • Plans to create ‘Investment Zones’ across England, which would have fewer planning regulations including environmental protections.
  • A review of the Net Zero Strategy, the document that sets out the government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Questions over the future of Environmental Land Management schemes, through which farmers would be funded to enhance wildlife habitats.

Groundwork’s Out of Bounds report shone a light on the stark inequalities in access to nature experienced by UK communities – far too many people do not have a good quality park or other natural space near to their home. That’s why we’ve joined the Nature for Everyone campaign, calling for a legal right to nature for every community.

Communities must have a say on changes to regulations that affect the environment they live in. Groundwork will be monitoring developments in government policy closely over the coming weeks, to ensure that climate and nature goals remain at the forefront of plans for our communities.

For further enquiries, please contact media@groundwork.org.uk