BES response to the UK’s Environment Improvement Plan

The British Ecological Society (BES) welcomes commitments made in the UK government’s Environment Improvement Plan (EIP) to give everyone access to natural space within fifteen minutes’ from their home, support new wildlife habitats, and establish new funding for species recovery.

Heron in london park
The Environment Improvement Plan (EIP) aims to give everyone access to natural space within fifteen minutes’ from their home.

On the Environment Improvement Plan, Daniela Russi, Senior Policy Manager at the BES said:

Access to nature 

Improving access to nature can help solve a widespread disconnect between people and nature, which is particularly prevalent in urban areas. As well as fostering a connection and sense of care for the natural world, access to nature is known to improve health and wellbeing, reduce stress and increase physical activity. 

The benefits of this policy for nature and biodiversity depend on the detail of its implementation. It will be important to know what exactly will count as a ‘green space’, how these green spaces will be managed and whether new green spaces will be created.

Species Survival Fund 

A dedicated fund to protect rare species will potentially play a key role in achieving the 2030 target to halt the decline of wildlife. The success of this will depend on how large the fund is and if it provides support in the long term.

New wildlife habitats 

The BES is pleased to see that the EIP is looking at ways to implement the government’s target to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030. The commitment to map out which areas will count for the 30×30 target will provide the necessary first step to make sure that the UK protected area network delivers for nature.

To count towards the target, protected areas will need to protect nature in the long term, build ecological resilience against pressures like climate change, be effectively funded, managed and monitored to deliver on conservation outcomes, and be developed inclusively with local communities.


The BES is encouraged to see that the EIP includes a target to support 65% to 80% of landowners and farmers to adopt nature-friendly farming on at least 10-15% of their land by 2030. We are pleased to see an emphasis on increasing Landscape Recovery projects and a target to restore 30,000 miles of hedgerows a year by 2037. As always, details on how these will be implemented will need to be clarified.