Minister for Climate Change Julie James has today (Monday, October 3) confirmed that Wales is tripling its peatland restoration targets in response to the newly published Biodiversity Deep Dive.

“Today’s Biodiversity Deep Dive helps us urgently rethink our relationship with the natural world and how to make the next best choices which benefits us and the future generations of Wales,” James said.

“That’s why, with the Minister for Rural Affairs, we are tripling our peatlands restoration targets to boost our insect and bird life and bring security to our fresh water supply in Wales.”

James said that she worked with experts and practitioners over the summer to undertake the Biodiversity Deep Dive “to develop a set of collective actions we can take in Wales to support nature’s recovery”.

She said that reduction in “biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse” is the main target of the restorations.

In a statement from the Welsh government, the “vanishing of around half of Wales’ animal and plant life” was attributed to the loss of forests, the plundering of seas and pollution caused by human activity.

“If we give nature a helping hand, it returns the gift in the bucket-load,” James said.

“The United Nations has said that urgent action taken over the next decade will determine the seriousness of the climate and nature emergencies.”

James said that the prioroty of the Welsh government is to transform existing terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected sites.

She plans to do this by expanding and accelerating the Nature Networks Programme to help improve the condition and connectivity of protected sites and make them more resilient to climate change.

“We will raise the ambition set out in our National Peatland Action Programme, so that by 2030 the programme will be delivering at a scale capable of reaching the net zero 2050 target of 45,000ha of peatland restored,” she said.

Biodiversity Deep Dive

The Biodiversity Deep Dive set following recommendations:

  • Transform Wales’ protected sites portfolio so that it is better, bigger, and more effectively connected so that plants and wildlife are able to travel and adapt to climate change;
  • Create a network of Nature Recovery Exemplar Areas across a range of different semi-natural habitats and identify opportunity of Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs);
  • Increase the footprint of the Marine Protected Areas network;
  • Unlock the potential of designated landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) so they deliver more for nature;
  • Ensure land and marine planning decisions consider biodiversity and that good decisions are incentivised;
  • Build a strong foundation for future delivery through capacity building, behaviour change, awareness raising and skills development;
  • Develop and adapt monitoring and evidence frameworks to measure progress against 30 by 30 (the United Nation’s ’30 by 30’ goal, which aims to protect and effectively manage 30% of the planet’s marine and 30% of the planet’s terrestrial environment by 2030).