I have received correspondence from constituents regarding upland areas.
Living on an Island which is 50% designated AONB, I would like to assure constituents that I am committed to protecting our uplands, the wildlife that thrives there, and the people who live there too. I am keen for the Island to have greater landscape protection, possibly through the UK’s first ‘Island Park’ designation.
I agree that restoring nature is crucial. The Prime Minister has committed to protecting 30 per cent of the UK’s land by 2030 and will be making nature a key focus of COP26. As well as this, the Environment Bill has been amended in the House of Lords to require a historic, new legally binding target on species abundance for 2030 with the aim of halting the decline of nature in England.
As you may know, the UK is moving to a new agricultural system which will reward farmers and land managers for the work that they do to enhance the environment. The environmental land management schemes being introduced will pay for sustainable farming practices, the creation and restoration of habitats, natural flood management, species management, and making landscape-scale environmental changes, among other things. I know that the uplands provide rich opportunities for the provision of environmental public goods and will be well placed to participate in these schemes.
Peatlands are our biggest terrestrial carbon store and it is welcome that ministers have published an England Peat Plan which provides an ambitious framework to improve the management of these areas.
Finally, I would like to assure you that raptor persecution is one of six national wildlife crime priorities. The Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group considers what action should be taken to prevent crime, gather intelligence on offences and enforce against. The National Wildlife Crime Unit also gathers intelligence on illegal activities and provides assistance to police forces when required.