Response to e-action from Westminster Labour Party

Thank you for contacting me about the protection of uplands.

I support investment in the restoration of a variety of habitats. The Conservatives have said uplands are precious, but I am concerned they are not doing enough to protect native species and wildlife and that they lack a serious plan to deliver a recovery for nature.

Protecting biodiversity, halting the decline of nature and restoring habitats and wildlife should be priorities as the keys to tackling the climate emergency through rapid carbon storage and biodiversity gain. It is intrinsically important to protect species and ensure that wildlife can be enjoyed by everyone.

We need ambitious biodiversity targets. The Government plans to introduce a target for halting the decline of nature in England by 2030 to the Environment Bill. However, I do not think it is acting quickly enough and should set this target urgently and ahead of COP26 to meet the significant challenge of the nature emergency. It should also seek to reverse the decline in nature with a dramatic incline in species abundance.

I am also concerned about the continued persecution of birds. Species conservation plays a vital role in restoring biodiversity and enabling nature’s recovery and, in my view, the Conservative Government is lacking a strategic approach to conservation through the protection, restoration and creation of habitats over a wide area to meet the needs of individual species under protection.

We also need ambition on reforesting and rewilding. I supported a Labour amendment to the Environment Bill for a bold, ambitious tree planting strategy in England, as we need more trees and better protections to restore our most vulnerable habitats. However, the Conservatives voted this down.

More widely, there is an urgent need for a coherent response to the climate and ecological emergency at COP26 in November. Worldwide, unusual weather events show dystopia is here today. The collective ambition to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels must be translated into concrete action with an unequivocal promise to deliver. The world is looking to Britain, as host of the summit, to deliver, but I am concerned the Government lacks sufficient action to meet this ambition.

Rest assured that myself and Labour colleagues will continue to battle for nature and environmental protection.

I hope this is helpful, but if you have any further concerns or queries then please do not hesitate to get back in touch.