The government’s priorities for the year ahead were set out in the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021.
*Update 19 May 2021*
Chester Zoo has long pushed for a stronger Environment Bill. The promise the government has made about its plans to halt species decline here in England is a huge step forward. This new target has the power to make a major difference for wildlife by 2030, if the detail is right. Now, it’s vital that we keep the pressure on to ensure they get this going and, through a joined up approach that must run right across government, deliver on this promise. Biodiversity in the UK, and globally, depends on it.
As a major wildlife conservation charity and world leader in animal care, we very much welcome the focus on animal welfare.
It’s something which is at the heart of everything we do; something that’s always foremost in our thoughts and something which, backed by science, we are constantly striving to push the boundaries on.
Right now, our planet has reached an environmental tipping point. The climate and biodiversity crises are the biggest threats to the future of wildlife in a millennia. That’s why we’re especially pleased to see the return of the Environment Bill and urge the Government to avoid any further delays and ensure that it is at the top of its agenda. And the reality is, it simply has to be if they have any genuine ambition to help protect the future of wildlife, both in the UK and overseas.
Last year, we called on the Government to amend the Bill to ensure the UK’s global footprint was accounted for, especially in relation to the use of nature-damaging commodities such as non-sustainable palm oil. We were pleased that they listened and subsequently announced proposals to introduce a new mandatory due diligence requirement for UK businesses, designed to prevent them from using products and materials linked with deforestation overseas. The Government now needs to prioritise this, provide details of the specific requirements and put into motion the necessary legislation.
Furthermore, the Government simply must not underestimate the urgency of this situation. It cannot be stressed enough how vital it is that action is taken, and taken right now. The biodiversity crisis is as real as it gets and nature as we know it is on the precipice. The time really is upon us and, if the Government is truly serious about having a positive, lasting impact on nature, they need to move, and move fast.