Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to slow biodiversity loss in the UK.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

In England we are investing in our protected sites, in the restoration and creation of wildlife-rich habitats and in species recovery.

At sea, we are expanding our protected areas. Twelve Special Protection Areas have been designated since 2017, with more under consideration. Last summer we consulted on an ambitious third tranche of 41 Marine Conservation Zones, to be designated later this year.

On land, around 94% of our protected sites, covering over 1 million hectares, are now in good condition or have management in place to restore their condition. We have established management to create approximately 130,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat since the publication of Biodiversity 2020 in 2011.

In the last two years we have announced new funding for peatland restoration and tree planting. In April 2018, £10 million of funding for peatland restoration was allocated to four large-scale peatland restoration projects in England. Additionally, in the 2018 Budget, the Chancellor announced £60 million for new woodland creation through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee and Urban Trees Challenge Fund.

Our agencies are working on a range of species recovery projects with landowning and conservation partners, for example on freshwater pearl mussel, short-haired bumblebee and stone curlew. We also protect a wide variety of our most threatened native species through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulation 2017. These laws make it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or capture listed species, as well as damage or destroy breeding sites.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan steps up our ambition further, setting long-term goals for recovering nature and setting out over two hundred actions to enhance the environment.

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