‘Government’s environmental efforts fall short’

That’s the warning from a watchdog, stating “the situation is poor across the board”

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The government’s attempts to protect wildlife and the environment are failing.

That’s the claim of a new report from the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), revealing that all 23 targets set were at high risk of not being achieved.

Out of 32 environmental areas investigated, only nine were found to be improving – with the remainder either stagnating or deteriorating.

The OEP was set up two years ago to ensure the government is held to account for its environmental action.

On the findings of the report, it said: “The situation is poor across the board, with adverse trends across marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Overall, we do not think the current pace and scale of action will deliver the changes necessary to improve the environment in England significantly.”

Although it accepted the Ukraine War, pandemic and cost of living crisis had contributed to a worse situation, the OEP stressed these could not be used as excuses for inaction.

Chair, Dame Glenys Stacey, said: “Many extremely worrying environmental trends remain unchecked, including a chronic decline in species abundance.

“Progress on delivery of the 25-year Environment Plan has fallen far short of what is needed to meet government’s ambition to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”

Defra responded saying it would take the findings of the report on board and will launch a new report this month.

The report will outline how the government will “reverse the decline in nature, achieve our net zero goals and deliver cleaner air and water,” a spokesperson said.

They added that since the publication of the 25-year Environmental Plan five years ago, work had been done – including 120,000 hectares of nature recovery projects.