Amendment 22

Environment Bill - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 23rd June 2021.

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Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park:

Moved by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

22: After Clause 2, insert the following new Clause—“Environmental targets: species abundance(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations set a target (the “species abundance target”) in respect of a matter relating to the abundance of species.(2) The specified date for the species abundance target must be 31 December 2030.(3) Accordingly, the species abundance target is not a long-term target and the duty in subsection (1) is in addition to (and does not discharge) the duty in section 1(2) to set a long-term target in relation to biodiversity.(4) Before making regulations under subsection (1) which set or amend a target the Secretary of State must be satisfied that meeting the target, or the amended target, would further the objective of halting a decline in the abundance of species.(5) Section 1(4) to (9) applies to the species abundance target and to regulations under this section as it applies to targets set under section 1 and to regulations under that section.(6) In this Part “the species abundance target” means the target set under subsection (1).”Member’s explanatory statementThis new Clause requires the Secretary of State to set a species abundance target, to be met by 31 December 2030. There are amendments throughout the Bill to ensure that the species abundance target is subject to the same regime as targets set under Clause 1.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I rise to move government Amendment 22, and to speak to the government amendments in my name grouped with it. These amendments will require the Secretary of State to set a new, historic, legally binding target for species abundance for 2030, aiming to halt the decline of nature. It is a core part of the Government’s commitment to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.

We hope that this measure will be the net zero equivalent for nature, spurring action of the scale required to address the biodiversity crisis. As noble Lords know, nature has been in decline for decades, and tackling that long-term decline will be challenging. But through this new target we are committing ourselves to that objective. A domestic 2030 species target will not only benefit species; the actions necessary to achieve it will also help drive wider environmental improvements —for example, to the habitats in which they live, and on which they depend.

The details of the target will be set in secondary legislation, brought forward by the end of October 2022, alongside our wider priority area targets. The 2030 species target will be subject to the same requirements as the long-term legally binding targets set under the Bill. Our focus now must be on the detailed work to develop a fully evidenced target. I met stakeholders on this issue just last week. We are developing the scientific and economic evidence to underpin this target, and will consult on all our proposed targets early next year. I look forward to hearing the contributions of noble Lords on this important amendment. I beg to move.