Restoring Nature and Climate Change DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Caroline LucasMain Page: Caroline Lucas (Green Party) - Brighton, Pavilion)
Break in Debate
I am grateful for that intervention. It must be a wonderful thing to be able to see that the trees that were planted then have now come to fruition. That is also an important point.
If we are to consider all these points alongside a future generations initiative, we need to make not only individual and cultural changes, but systemic, Government-led ones. Tom Maddox, of Natural Capital Hub and Flora & Fauna International, told me of the need to adopt a holistic approach, and in 2021—
I will just finish the sentence. In 2021, the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration starts—a huge opportunity. Let us beat the curve and adopt those radical and far-reaching changes now.
I am grateful to the hon. Lady; I am sure there is no danger of complete unanimity breaking out when she is in the room. She is right that, when it comes to the issue of Heathrow, there is certainly not likely to be unanimity. That is an important point, because sometimes—I am not saying this about that particular project—it is pretty clear that there is some greenwashing going on, and we must always be mindful of that.
I turn to the Government and ask for a couple of commitments—first, clear leadership and a commitment to implementing nature restoration measures, rather than simply leaving them to the market, where simplistic short-term economic arguments too often win out. Yes, restoration can make absolute economic sense on a macro level, but individual actors need encouragement, education and direction on why they should change their behaviour. Targets and monitoring are vital there.
Secondly, as I suspect is often the way, I want to press for more ambition from the Government. The 25-year environment plan includes measures that would improve our natural environment, yes, but many would say that we should go much further. The commitment to restore 500,000 hectares, for example, is half what a single company has pledged in Indonesia. We should look at what others have pledged in the Bonn Challenge. The commitment to raise forest cover in England from 10% to 12% takes us from sixth lowest in Europe to eighth lowest, still behind Scotland and Wales. Most European countries have over one third of their land covered in forest. Belgium has a similar population density to us, but over twice the forest, so we can do more, and we can challenge ourselves further.