In a move to prioritise environmental sustainability, the Liberal Democrats have today unveiled a comprehensive package of nature policies as part of their General Election manifesto. These policies, welcomed by environmental group Wild Moors, aim to safeguard the UK’s natural landscapes and promote biodiversity.

At the heart of the Lib Dem’s environmental policy is a commitment to protect 30% of land and seas for nature by 2030. Making up nearly 4 million hectares, including some of our most iconic national parks and national landscapes, the uplands will be of crucial importance to achieve these conservation goals. These efforts are intrinsically linked to bread and butter policies to achieve carbon net zero and enhancing biodiversity.

A significant component of the Lib Dems’ manifesto commitments on nature involves the restoration of peatlands and extensive tree planting. These actions are essential for unlocking the full potential of uplands in delivering nature-based solutions. The manifesto also emphasises supporting landowners and managers in reducing pollution of rivers and waterways. This can be achieved in part by improving water quality in upland catchments through nature restoration and sustainable land management practices.

The manifesto also outlines plans to finance nature’s recovery through a blend of public and private finance. Public money will be allocated for public goods provided by landowners and managers, such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation and natural flood management. Additionally, the Lib Dems propose enhancing private finance by improving how environmental assets produced through nature restoration, such as carbon credits and biodiversity net gain units, are delivered.

The Lib Dems also indicate support for Community Right to Buy, pledging to enhance powers for securing community assets and vital infrastructure. Another notable commitment is the pledge to end the routine burning of heather on peatlands by grouse moors — a change in legislation which Wild Moors and other conservation organisations have long called for. Complementing this is the proposed legal right to a healthy environment, giving communities recourse against habitat damage in upland areas where it has implications for people living, working and studying nearby.

The manifesto also underscores the importance of education and training to prepare individuals  for the low-carbon economy of the future. Effective restoration and sustainable management of peatlands and woodlands require a workforce equipped with the necessary skills. The Lib Dems aim to ensure that these educational and training programs are in place to support their environmental objectives.

The Liberal Democrats’ nature policies reflect a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable land management. With a focus on protecting significant natural areas and restoring critical habitats, the Lib Dems present a robust plan to enhance the UK’s natural environment. Wild Moors welcomes these proposals, seeing them as a crucial step toward a more sustainable and biodiverse future for the uplands.