Nature Recovery Green Paper must focus on the real issues

26th May 2022

In March, Defra launched the consultation on its Nature Recovery Green Paper, which set out pro-posals to deliver the 30/30 targets (30% of land and sea to be protected by 2030), protect species and deliver nature recovery.

IEMA hosted two member workshops to discuss the key points and create a response. The broad conclusion was that the Green Paper is a missed opportunity. It focuses largely on reorganising the designation for terrestrial and marine protected areas, reorganising the arm’s length bodies that oversee protected areas, rearranging the licensing for species, and reorganising who has decision-making power.

Our response noted that changing site and species protection frameworks is irrelevant unless management regimes are properly enforced and resourced. The government must understand what it aims to achieve. IEMA has suggested that more needs to be done to identify the best outcomes for nature recovery, and understand how existing structures do not meet their current roles in achieving this. We have offered help to facilitate this.

There was nothing in the Green Paper about how its proposals fit with other policies recently put forward. This meant there was not a sufficiently clear line of sight for IEMA members between this and other policy papers and their own organisations and processes.

The consultation included a request for information about improving environmental impact assessment (EIA) scope and regimes. IEMA was happy to share its response to Defra’s survey on the post-implementation review of EIA regulations, our publications Levelling up EIA to build back better and Delivering Proportionate EIA, and our proposals for EIA improvement, including clear requirements and standards, better monitoring and management, evidence-based practice, formalised competency, and receptor-led assessment.

It is essential that nature protection is not lessened from its current state, that resources that will help business undertake nature protection measures remain in place and are improved, and that upskilling is undertaken.

The consultation closed on 11 May. Read IEMA’s response at

Image credit | iStock


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