Skip to main content


Volume 690: debated on Thursday 4 March 2021

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker—Mr Speaker! Goodness gracious me, I am so sorry. Gosh! Apologies.

Biodiversity definitely matters, and it is critical that we act now internationally and at home in this crucial year for nature and biodiversity. In England, our Environment Bill sets out a strong legal foundation for improving the environment, and we have introduced substantial new funding for nature, including the nature for climate and green recovery challenge funds. We have protected 40% of English waters across 178 marine protected areas, and we have committed to protecting 30% of our land by 2030.

Will the Government ensure that nature-friendly farming is at the heart of our replacement for the common agricultural policy, and will securing a global switch to sustainable and nature-friendly farming be a core goal for us at COP26?

I am pleased that my right hon. Friend has given me the chance to say that we on the Front Bench—every single one of the Ministers and the Secretary of State—are absolutely committed to nature-friendly farming, and there will be schemes through the new environmental land management system that will reward it. The sustainable farming incentive will support approaches to farm husbandry that will help the environment. That might include propagating integrated pest management and actions to improve soil health and water quality. Local nature recovery will pay for actions that support local nature recovery and deliver local environmental priorities, with farmers potentially collaborating. Finally, landscape recovery will support much wider landscape-scale and ecosystem recovery through long-term change of land use and projects. Internationally, that work continues with our Darwin initiative and many more things, and we will bring all those into COP26.