The Environment


It is important to understand that this Government is truly world leading when it comes to our environmental targets. Five years ago, the UK became the first G7 country to sign our commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 into law.

The UK has consistently overdelivered on our climate ambitions, with emissions 48% down on 1990 levels and we have seen the fastest decarbonisation in the G7. Technological advances are also progressing way ahead, with wind energy now costing 70% less than predicted in 2016 and we have continually used higher levels of clean energy than we could forecast.

The UK is the only country in the world to have a target of 77% emissions reductions compared to 1990 levels by 2035. We remain on target. The UK has even surpassed the targets most countries have set for 2030, such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.



Rebecca was also proud to support the Environment Act 2021 - a world leading piece of legislation which sets out in law plans to clean up the country’s air, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity, reduce waste and make better use of our resources.

It will halt the decline in species by 2030 and require new developments to improve or create habitats for nature. It will help us transition to a more circular economy, incentivising people to recycle more, encouraging businesses to create sustainable packaging, making household recycling easier and stopping the export of polluting plastic waste to developing countries. These changes will be driven by new legally binding environmental targets and enforced by the new, independent Office for Environmental Protection which will hold the Government and public bodies to account on their environmental obligations.



The Environment Improvement Plan 2023 is the first update to our 25-Year Environment Plan.

We now have the following targets and commitments:

  • Halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, and then increase abundance by at least 10% to exceed 2022 levels by 2042.
  • Restore or create more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat by 2042 alongside our international commitment to protect 30% of our land and ocean by 2030.
  • New interim target to restore or create 140,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitats outside protected sites by 2028, compared to 2022 levels.
  • Improve the Red List Index for England for species extinction by 2042 compared to 2022 levels.
  • Increase tree canopy and woodland cover from 14.5% to 16.5% of total land area in England by 2050.



The UK’s Presidency of COP26 oversaw some of the largest global agreements on tackling climate change to date including:

  • Over 90 per cent of the world’s GDP commit to a net zero target.
  • A pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. The pledge was signed by 105 countries, covering half of the top 30 big methane emitters.
  • Over 30 countries and some of the world’s largest car makers committing to work together to make all new car sales zero emission globally by 2040, and by 2035 in leading markets.



Energy security is another huge issue, which is why the Prime Minister established the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. This Department will ensure that we are energy independent, reducing bills and inflation. We have delivered the second highest amount of recorded low-carbon investment cumulatively across Europe over the last 5 years and estimate that since 2010, the UK has seen £198 billion of investment into low-carbon energy, through a mixture of Government funding, private investment and levies on consumer bills.

We have increased the proportion of UK electricity generated by renewables fourfold.  The proportion of electricity generated by renewables was over 40 per cent in 2022 and reached a record of almost 50 per cent by the first quarter of 2023. The UK has made huge progress in reducing the use of coal across the power sector, with coal accounting for only 1.8% of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020, compared with 40% almost decade ago. From 1 October 2024, Great Britain will no longer use coal to generate electricity at all, a year earlier than planned.

The Government is working to deliver ambitions to increase offshore wind fivefold to reach 50GW of production by 2030, with the new Energy Act speeding up the planning process so we get more wind turbines constructed even quicker. The UK will produce enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we currently produce to 50GW by 2030 and supporting up to 60,000 jobs.

The Government will work with industry and aim to generate 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes. In addition, the Government aims to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade. The Government has launched a new Energy Security Strategy, which will see a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from a safe, clean, and reliable source of power. Other measures include a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028, £1 billion funding to make our schools, hospitals and homes more energy efficient, promoting and investing in zero emission transport and £20 million to develop clean maritime technology.



Ours is the first Government to take steps to address storm overflows. The only reason we know about the number of overflows is due to the Conservative Government’s actions to increase accountability of water companies’ performance. This includes massively increasing monitoring of the frequency and duration of discharges, from approximately 7% in 2010 to 100% coverage today. This monitoring is vital since without such investigations the extent of the problem remains unknown and hence limits our ability to accurately plan the appropriate scale of response.

In August 2022, the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan was launched, setting out stringent targets to protect people and the environment, backed up by up to £56 billion capital investment, which is the largest infrastructure programme in water company history.

Rebecca agrees that the current level of discharges is unacceptable and has voted at every stage to increase fines against water companies, clean up our waterways and demand faster action. Votes in Parliament have continually been misreported and mispresented in the press and shared on social media - she absolutely have not voted to make it easier for companies to dump sewage in rivers at any stage. A full response on this issue can be found here:



Adaptation of course will be a part of how we tackle and live with climate change and the Government is investing £5.2 billion in flood and coastal schemes across England, including the current sea defence development on Canvey, provided £750 million for the Nature for Climate Fund which uses nature to provide the solutions for improving our climate resilience and provides £80 million for creating more jobs in conservation.

The Government are taking forward a further 34 new Landscape Recovery projects, involving over 700 land managers across the country. Together these projects will restore more than 35,000 hectares of peatland, sustainably manage more than 20,000 hectares of woodland, including some temperate rainforest, create over 7,000 hectares of new woodland, and benefit more than 160 protected sites, alongside the sustainable production of food. This builds on the success of the first 22 Landscape Recovery projects that are already underway, aiming to restore more than 600 km of rivers and targeting the conservation of more than 260 flagship species.

The UK and other developed countries have committed to a collective target of providing and mobilising $100 billion in climate finance a year for developing countries from public and private sources. The UK met its target to deliver at least £5.8bn between 2016/17 and 2020/21 and in 2019 announced that we would double this to £11.6bn between 2021/22 and 2025/26. Subsequently, at the UK-led COP26, 95% of the largest developed country climate finance providers made new, forward-looking commitments, with many doubling, or even quadrupling, their support. Almost 200 countries have now signed up to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework agreement which sets the framework for the next decade of action to protect nature with a global commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.



Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our environment. Rebecca also support the Government's stance that the use of neonicotinoids should be restricted further.

The UK is making huge progress on removing them from the supply chain and we now use 90% fewer pesticides on our crops compared to just a decade ago. For neonicotinoids, the Government has increased the emergency authorisation conditions where they may only be permitted for use if the danger of Yellow Virus incidence within the crop is above 65%, it was anything above 19% only two years ago. There are then strong restrictions on planting future crops and monitoring in these areas over subsequent years.



The Government has announced the creation of 3 High Protection Marine Areas banning any activity in those areas allowing the nature to take hold again. 38% of UK waters are now covered by Marine Protected Areas. High Protection Marine Areas will prevent all harmful activity to promote full recovery of the whole site to as natural a state as possible. They will contribute to healthy, sustainable and climate-resilient ecosystems that benefit both the marine environment and our fishing communities. They will give marine life space to fully recover and evidence suggests that increased numbers or size of species in protected areas.

Through UK leadership of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People and the Global Ocean Alliance landmark global agreements have been reached to protect at least 30% of the land and of the ocean by 2030.



Bans and restrictions on a range of polluting single-use plastic items came into force on 1st October 2023. Single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene cups and food containers can now no longer be sold in England, and the supply of single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls has also been restricted.

The single-use plastics ban is part of the Government’s wider world-leading action to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution and eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. The Government has already banned microbeads in rinse-off personal care products in 2018 and restricted the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in 2020. The Government also introduced the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022, a tax of more than £200 per tonne on plastic packaging manufactured in or imported to the UK that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

A national consultation is currently underway on banning wet wipes containing plastic. Part of plans to tackle plastic pollution and clean up waterways, the consultation seeks views on the manufacture, supply and sale of plastic-containing wet wipes across the UK.



In 2015, the Government introduced the 5p plastic bag charge, a move which Rebecca resolutely supported. Where before the average family used 140 plastic bags per year, this has been reduced to just 4.

Plastic bags have a significant impact on the environment. Government scientists believe one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals are dying every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste. Further efforts to curb plastic bag were therefore required and since May 2021 a minimum of 10p must be charged for a new plastic bag and this requirement has been extended to all retailers. These changes have seen a 98% reduction in the use of plastic bags since 2015 and the move is also expected to benefit the UK economy by over £297 million this decade.



We have significantly reduced air pollution. Since 2010, air pollution has reduced significantly as emissions of nitrogen dioxide have fallen by 44%, sulphur dioxide have fallen by 70% and PM2.5 emissions have fallen by 18%. The Government has gone further through the Clean Air Strategy which sets out a legal target to reduce PMI2.5 pollution by 35% in 2040. This included plans to tackle nitrous oxide hotspots with £883 million of additional funding and for the introduction of new clean air zones across our cities.



Leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests have committed at COP26 to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 through £8.75 billion of public funds to protect and restore forests, alongside £5.3 billion of private investment. The UK has also legislated to prohibit commodities from land where illegal deforestation has taken place. Palm oil, cocoa, beef, leather and soy are to be included to ensure that there is no place on our supermarket shelves for products which have been produced on land linked to illegal deforestation.

Between 2010 and 2019 over 15 million trees, or nearly 13,000 hectares of new woodland in England were planted. The area of woodland in England now stands at three thousand hectares more than 2021/22. The Government has invested £750m towards tree planting and peatland restoration with work well underway to treble planting rates and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland by the end of the Parliament.