The RSPB is calling for an Environment Act to ensure the restoration of nature that the 25 Year Plan Environment Plan has outlined.

The organisation joins other groups in calling more greater detail and emphasises the need for the intentions to be enshrined in law.

The RSPB’s director of global conservation Martin Harper, said:

"I welcomed the ambition, tone and also some of the proposals that have survived the tough conversations that have clearly taken place across government.

"On first reading the document, there are lots of things to applaud…There are some things, however, for which we shall have to wait or continue to fight for: more specific metrics of success to judge progress, new institutional arrangements to report on progress and hold governments account and environmental principles to underpin this action.

"However, the one thing that I think it notable by its absence is a commitment to translate ambition into law. The only way to ensure that the ambition in the plan is met and momentum sustained, is by establishing a new Environment Act essentially to do for the restoration of nature what the Climate Change Act has done for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This applies as much to site protection as it does to preventing species such as turtle dove and willow tit being lost from the UK in our lifetime.

While we may believe the statements of politicians today, legislation provides security to deal with any political volatility which may arise in the future. And besides, within the plan there is a very clear reminder of why voluntary targets just don’t work – we have yet another target to end the use of peat in horticulture, this time by 2020. This, I think is the third such voluntary target in 20 years but they have clearly failed: recent monitoring suggests 56% of all growing media still contains peat!"

In conclusion he thanked Defra's civil servants for their hard work in establishing the framework.