Responding to this announcement, Debbie Tann, Chief Executive of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said: “Our local vision for a Wilder 2030, published last year, calls for 30% of land and sea for nature’s recovery. And, while it may now sound like the Prime Minister is singing from the same song sheet, unfortunately we are not yet in harmony.
“Boris Johnson today publicly committed to increase the total protected area to 30% in the next ten years. However, with 26% of our landscapes already included within national park and other designations, this could mean just a small increase in ‘protected’ space. The reality of what’s needed to tackle the nature emergency is very different.
“Today less than 10% of England is specifically safeguarded for wildlife and only half of that is in good condition. Here in Hampshire and the Island our landscapes may look green and pleasant, but we know wildlife is struggling to hang on in all but a few tiny fragments. What we need is wholescale investment in nature’s recovery – much more space for wildlife to bounce back and the wider pressures on nature reduced.
“So when we talk about 30% by 2030, we mean trebling the space on land and sea where nature is recovering and wildlife is thriving. This means our chalk rivers are unpolluted, this means our national parks and AONBs deliver much more for wildlife, this means our farmed landscape welcomes wildlife back. We want to see the creation of a new ‘wildbelt’ of land across our counties where nature can be restored. We want small and large wild spaces – from verges and hedgerows to fields and forests – to contribute to our vital Nature Recovery Network.
“It will simply not be enough to just add a few more paper protections to the pile. We need the Government to step up their ambition to match the urgency of the situation and to follow positive rhetoric with meaningful action.”
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is driving forward with a local plan for nature’s recovery, which includes doubling the land owned by the Trust and supporting farmers, businesses, individuals and communities to play their part in creating a much wilder future. To find out more about Wilder 2030 and how you can help, visit www.hiwwt.org.uk/wilder-hampshire-wight