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Humanist Climate Action calls for stronger environmental protection targets

Humanist Climate Action has told the UK Government it must strengthen its proposed environmental targets to protect against the further degeneration of our biodiversity, woodland cover, and air quality. Its call was made in response to a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs on its plan to develop legally binding long-term environmental targets to halt ‘loss of biodiversity, and protect and enhance our natural world.’

Humanist Climate Action made the following recommendations:

  • increase the 2030 target for a 10% increase in long-term species abundance to 20%
  • change the baseline year for measuring biodiversity from 2030 to 2022
  • increase the ambition of the long-term wider habitats target from 500,000 to 750,000 hectares of rewilded space by 2042
  • expand designated marine protection areas to cover more than 40% of English waters
  • create an overall target to improve water and river quality, which is currently missing from these proposals
  • set its air quality targets in line with the more ambitious ones outlined by the World Health Organization

Humanist Climate Action Coordinator Lori Marriott commented, 

‘We welcome the commitment of the Government to introducing legally binding targets for protecting important elements of our environment. But overall these proposals are not ambitious enough. They not only need to make sure that further damage to our woods, air, seas, and biodiversity is prevented. They also must make sure that such damage is reversed, with plant and animal species returning to these areas. This cannot be done if the Government targets sit below that needed to reverse decline and if the baseline measures are set at a future time. Currently these targets fail to take into account the anticipated erosion of biodiversity between now and 2030. That’s why we’re calling for more ambitious targets to be adopted.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read the consultation response.

Read the consultation.

Read more about Humanist Climate Action.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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