206440 - Biodiversity (Answered)

Mrs Anne Main
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the UK missing the biodiversity targets in 2010; and what assessment she has made of the likelihood of the 2020 biodiversity target being met.

George Eustice

The UK’s Fourth National report to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) was submitted in 2009 and can be viewed on the CBD website http://www.cbd.int/reports/nr4/default.shtml. Although no country met the Biodiversity 2010 target in full, it drove significant delivery to address the threats to biodiversity. It did this through protected sites, more sustainable use of farmland, forestry and fisheries, controls on air pollution and improved water quality. However, the report also said that threats from invasive species had increased in marine and terrestrial ecosystems and that climate change impacts on biodiversity were being observed.

Biodiversity implementation is a devolved matter and for England the Government published Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services in 2011. This sets out the strategic direction for biodiversity policy for the next decade on land and at sea. It builds on the successful work that went before, but also seeks to deliver a real step change by responding to Sir John Lawton’s landmark Making Space for Nature report, and the Convention on Biological Diversity’s international Aichi targets, setting ambitious outcomes to be achieved by 2020.

Natural England and the Terrestrial Biodiversity Group are undertaking a delivery review of the Strategy’s outcomes and the initial findings indicate that they are achievable if additional effort is demonstrated right across the biodiversity partnership. As Biodiversity 2020 makes clear, Government will play an important role but cannot deliver the strategy alone. Our conservation charities, supported by millions of members of the public and volunteers, already make a vital contribution in protecting biodiversity. Equally, farmers, landowners and local authorities have a central role to play as the stewards of England’s countryside. The Government will continue to work with these partners to ensure their efforts combine with those of public sector organisations to achieve the Biodiversity 2020 outcomes.