When people think about protecting the environment, the issues that come to mind are often distant ones such as deforestation in the Amazon or islands of plastic floating around in the oceans. However, some of the issues are much closer to home.
A report by Wildlife and Countryside Link has concluded that the government has so far made little progress in ensuring that 30 per cent of England’s land and sea territory is protected for nature by 2030. So far, it claims, only three per cent of land and eight per cent of UK coastal waters have gained protection by 2022, up just 0.22 per cent and four per cent respectively on 2021.
The report, published ahead of global nature talks were the UK is expected to sign up to an international treaty to implement the pledge, warns that recent announcements by the government of an intention to loosen planning regulations risks reducing the extent of protection further.
Of course, it could be that future announcements by the government will provide further steps to improve environmental protections, even though Liz Truss included environmental campaigners in the “anti-growth coalition” she claimed existed in her first (and last?) party conference speech as prime minister.
While many things are uncertain about the government just now - not least if Ms Truss will be heading it for much longer - by using an eco shop online consumers can do their own bit to help the environment.
It is always important for people to remember that whatever decisions are made by governments domestically, through international summits, by big businesses or any other large organisation, the power of the individual to make a difference is real.
For its part, the government recently insisted that it is still committed to increasing environmental protection after bodies like the National Trust and RSPB questioned what the growth agenda meant for the environment.
A DEFRA spokesperson said: “Claims we intend to go back on our commitment to the environment are simply not right,” adding that the 2030 commitment remains and the plans “will not undermine our obligations to the environment in pursuit of growth”.