In May the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) launched their consultation on Improving nature delivery – Halting England’s decline in species abundance by 2030 and restoring it. Lesley Wilson, IEMA’s Policy and Engagement Lead on Biodiversity and Natural Capital led IEMA’s response to the consultation and tells us more about it.

The consultation aims to help the OEP understand if the Government’s plans and delivery methods will achieve the species abundance targets set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) that was published in January this year.

The questions in the consultation attempt to address how achievable the targets are, what interventions might be needed to achieve the targets, major barriers, enablers, synergies and trade-offs. The consultation considered type, scale and pace of interventions, and included terrestrial, freshwater and marine.

IEMA hosted a workshop of members and other key stakeholders, which included marine, local authority and built environment expertise to create a response. The key findings and recommendations in our consultation response are as follows:

  • It is difficult to know how the abundance of species will be measured in the targets in the EIP because it’s not clear what species will be measured. Clarity will support key stakeholders in taking action.
  • More research should be undertaken by the government to enhance understanding of how habitat creation will improve species abundance and this will provide a better evidence base for nature recovery.
  • The marine targets in the EIP are very broad (for example, ‘restore marine protected sites’ and to designate Highly Protected Marine Areas) and must be more focussed with processes for monitoring and measuring.
  • The government should mandate Biodiversity Action Plans and provide resources for them to be implemented.
  • There should be improved communication by government of timetables for the launch of regulations and timely guidance on regulation and policy, including case studies (that are easy-to-find online).
  • Government should ensure that nature and its associated ecosystem services are embedded in meeting the demand for housing and climate actions, particularly through the use of nature-based solutions.
  • Appropriate funding and resources are needed in order to support the ambition in the EIP to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. This includes resources for local authorities to implement local change, for record centres, to upskill stakeholders, and resources to allow the Environment Agency to act on nature degradation caused by landowners.
  • Nature-related risks must be identified through natural capital assessment and uncertainty transparently recognised and managed as part of achieving the EIP targets.

Meeting the targets set out in the EIP will be a challenge. Ambition is a good thing but the targets must be achievable and thus be suitably funded and resourced. Understanding what we are monitoring and what we want to achieve is essential to meet both the targets in the EIP and the UN Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework’s 30x30 Target.

IEMA’s full response to the consultation can be found here.

Photo of Lesley
Lesley Wilson

Policy and Engagement Lead

Lesley is Policy and Engagement Lead at IEMA with a focus on biodiversity and natural capital. Lesley also supports IEMA’s role as Secretariat to the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum, working with businesses to raise the profile of, mainstream, and share good practice in, biodiversity. Lesley joined IEMA in December 2021 after 11 years delivering projects, programmes and solutions for business in the field of environmental sustainability for the British Standards Institution (BSI), including ground breaking standards in biodiversity net gain and natural capital. Lesley has a qualification in business management (MBA) and climate change management, and mentors environmental students at the University of Westminster.


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