Environment Act 2021 Targets
Following a consultation earlier this year, Defra have published a summary of consultation responses and the government’s response to the Environment Act 2021 targets. You can access the full response and details here. Defra have largely decided to proceed with the targets unchanged from the consultation.
The thirteen targets that will be laid through statutory instruments are as follows:
Biodiversity on land
- To ensure that species abundance in 2042 is greater than in 2022, and at least 10% greater than 2030.
- Improve the Red List Index for England for species extinction risk by 2042, compared to 2022 levels.
- To restore or create in excess of 500,000 hectares of a range of wildlife-rich habitat outside protected sites by 2042, compared to 2022 levels.
Biodiversity in the sea
- 70% of the designated features in the MPA network to be in favourable condition by 2042, with the remainder in recovering condition.
Water quality and availability
- Abandoned metal mines target: Halve the length of rivers polluted by harmful metals from abandoned mines by 2038, against a baseline of around 1,500 km.
- Agriculture target: Reduce nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sediment pollution from agriculture into the water environment by at least 40% by 2038, compared to a 2018 baseline.
- Wastewater target: Reduce phosphorus loadings from treated wastewater by 80% by 2038 against a 2020 baseline.
- Water Demand Target: Reduce the use of public water supply in England per head of population by 20% from the 2019/20 baseline reporting year figures, by 2037/38.
- Increase total tree and woodland cover from 14.5% of land area now to 16.5% by 2050.
Resource efficiency and waste reduction
- Reduce residual waste (excluding major mineral wastes) kg per capita by 50% by 2042 from 2019 levels. This will be measured as a reduction from the 2019 level, which has been revised to 574kg per capita following updated evidence post-consultation.
- An Annual Mean Concentration Target for PM2.5 levels in England to be 10 µg m-3 or below by 2040.
- A Population Exposure Reduction Target for a reduction in PM2.5 population exposure of 35% compared to 2018 to be achieved by 2040.
Once Defra lay Statutory Instruments setting out the final targets they will proceed for approval by Parliament. Each long-term target will be accompanied by non-statutory interim targets, of up to 5 years in duration, in the Environmental Improvement Plan, to be published by 31 January 2023.