Truro & Falmouth MP Sarah Newton has called for greater protections for local natural habitats to support nature-based solutions to tackle climate change, ahead of the Global Climate Strike this Friday.

Natural habitats such as forests, meadows, coasts and peatlands can draw down and store huge amounts of carbon, whilst providing a home for wildlife.

Mrs Newton has backed calls for these local habitats to be protected and form part of the UK’s Nature Recovery Network, which will shortly be introduced through the new Environment Bill.

She said: “The Government has pledged to introduce a highly ambitious Environment Bill, outlining our plans to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. This Bill must have strong, legally-binding targets to restore nature and map out where local natural habitats need protecting. This is an important part of tackling climate change, we cannot hope to solve to this global issue without restoring nature.”

Recent research by the RSPB found that the landscapes in the UK that are both best for nature and that act as carbon sinks, store a total of two gigatonnes of carbon – equivalent to four years of the UK’s total emissions.

Furthermore, 66 per cent of this land lies outside of legally protected areas. If these landscapes continue to degrade, this carbon will be added to the atmosphere – but if the habitats are restored and managed correctly, nature could lock away much more carbon than it is currently.

Last week, it was confirmed that the UK had won its bid to host the international UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow in 2020. At the conference countries will set out the next stage of their political commitments to tackle climate change following the initial Paris Agreement.

Mrs Newton added: “It’s absolutely right that we focus on natural solutions to climate change, we have many of these great resources right in our area. We must properly protect and restore them so that they can both soak up carbon and provide a home for wildlife.

"The UK can step up to become a world leader on nature-based solutions and rehabilitate our wild places so we can leave the environment in better condition for the next generation. I have seen first-hand the excellent work that organisations such as the RSPB and Cornwall Wildlife Trust are doing working with local landowners. This is particularly important as the eyes of the world look to Glasgow in 2020. Now that we have the net zero target, we need the right policies to get us there.”