Ninety per cent of priority actions set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan have been delivered or are on track for timely delivery, DEFRA said in its first 25YEP progress report.
In terms of the “clean and plentiful water” goal – one of ten key objectives specified in the plan – the report listed the following achievements:
• Water companies collectively committed over £5bn over the next five-year period to improve the water environment.
• Published a National Policy Statement for water resources infrastructure to streamline the process of gaining planning permission for nationally significant infrastructure projects.
• Lead a water conservation report in Parliament endorsing incremental leakage reductions towards 15% target by 2025 for water companies.
• Improved water quality by making enhancements to over 1,700km of the water environment.
Introduced farming rules for water to tackle diffuse water pollution from agriculture.
Wider successes detailed included:
Preparing the first Environment Bill in over 20 years which will place the 25YEP on a statutory footing and put environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government.
Consulting on plans for biodiversity net gain to ensure new houses meet the needs of people and also contribute to ecological recovery.
Cracking down on plastic waste by introducing one of the world’s strongest microbeads bans, setting out plans to ban plastic straws and more.
Laying a landmark Agriculture Bill before Parliament.
Combatting illegal wildlife trade through introducing a landmark Ivory Act.
Safeguarding forests and woodlands by starting the creation of a Northern Forest and appointing a Tree Champion.
Protecting habitats by launching a review to enhance England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Protecting the marine environment by launching our flagship Fisheries Bill.
The report also outlined new commitments to strengthen the plan going forward, including plans to undertake an environmental citizen science project.
Alongside the progress report, DEFRA published a new indicator framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan, to monitor environmental progress. “Our aim in publishing the framework is to draw together a comprehensive suite of measures for the state of our natural world, drawing on established data sets and identifying where new information is required and how we might best obtain it,” the department explained.