The public consultation on the government’s environmental targets framework closed at the end of June. IEMA made a submission, setting out concerns.
Defra had been seeking views on a range of environmental targets covering air quality, water, biodiversity, and resource efficiency and waste reduction. Details of the full range of the targets proposed can be found at bit.ly/EnvTarget_Consult
The targets are part of the new governance regime for the management and enhancement of the natural environment, so it follows that IEMA engaged carefully. Following workshops and roundtables with members, four recommendations emerged.
First, ‘apex’ targets for water and resources and waste, alongside those for nature, air and net-zero carbon emissions, should be included. Second, there should be alignment of target end dates to decadal intervals, making the targets easier to communicate and to align work programmes.
Third, a target for the status of protected sites should be included, given that Defra acknowledges this as critical to achieving the species abundance target. Finally, a clear roadmap for the introduction of additional targets should be developed and the refresh of existing legally binding targets carried out accordingly.
Government is required to lay regulations in parliament by 31 October to introduce the targets, so time is of the essence in considering stakeholder views and making amendments to ensure that the framework puts the natural environment on a path to more positive outcomes.