UK Government publish first year progress report on 25-year Environment Plan

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Thérèse Coffe
Thérèse Coffey pic: Foreign and Commonwealth Office https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
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The UK Government has published the first progress report of its 25-Year Environmental Plan, stating that, in the first year alone, 90% of the plan’s actions have been delivered or are being progressed. 

Launched in January 2018, the 25-Year Environment Plan set out how the Government will improve the environment over a generation by creating better habitats for wildlife, improving air and water quality, and curbing the scourge of plastic pollution in the oceans.  

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Of the 40 priority actions expected to make the most significant contributions to the ten goals of the Plan, four have already been delivered, said Defra.  

A further 32 are on track, and the remaining four actions are subject to minor delays, due to resources being temporarily redirected to support preparations for Brexit.  

Process over the 12 months include: 

  • Tackling plastic waste by outlining plans to ban plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers and extend the 5p plastic bag charge, as well as overhauling the waste system with the Resources and Waste Strategy 
  • Protecting the marine environment by launching the flagship Fisheries Bill, introducing one of the “world’s toughest bans” on microbeads, and consulting on 41 new Marine Conservation Zones 
  • Laying out its Agriculture Bill before Parliament to introduce a fairer, more sustainable system 
  • Committing to plans for the first Environment Bill in 20 years 
  • Safeguarding forests and woodlands by starting the creation of a Northern Forest and appointing a Tree Champion 
  • Protecting wildlife habitats by introducing a review to enhance England’s National Parks 
  • Combatting the illegal wildlife trade. 

UK Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Through our landmark 25 Year Environment Plan and upcoming Environment Bill, we are committed to bold action on tackling plastic waste, reforming farming, protecting our landscapes and boosting wildlife. While progress is encouraging, we know there is still more to do. 

“As the future stewards of the environment, our children and young people have a crucial role to play in protecting our precious natural world. That is why, in this Year of Green Action, we are involving young people in helping shape our shared future.” 

The Government has also today published a new indicator framework for the Plan. 

It comes as the Government explores introducing a new citizen science project to build a broader understanding of the environment.  

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has written to the Natural Capital Committee to ask for advice on how the public could volunteer to be involved in a new environmental science project.  

Members of the public would go out and record their local environment, from logging individual plants and animals to noting changes across whole landscapes, so that the data can be used to help shape future policy. Plans are also underway to identify how new technologies could be used to find gaps in environmental protection.  

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