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In his first major speech in the role, the Environment Secretary said he has “no intention of weakening the environmental protections we have put in place while in the EU”.

He went on to say he wanted the post-Brexit UK to be: “a setter of gold standards in protecting and growing our natural capital.”

During his wide-ranging speech, the Environment Secretary gave an ambitious outline of how the Government would tackle the restoration of nature and the environment.

On climate change, he stated his deep regret at President Trump’s stance on the Paris Agreement, saying: “It’s our planet too and America needs to know we can only resolve this problem together.”

On ivory, he claimed it as his personal responsibility to address the illicit wildlife trade, saying: “we need to take action. It’s my responsibility to tackle the trade in illegal ivory.”

However, there were no firm commitments on a date for commencing the long-anticipated ivory consultation.

There were also some encouraging words on publishing the 25 year plan for the environment later this year, and a commitment to consult experts on its scope, and to ensure it forms a basis for future laws on agriculture and fisheries.

Speaking on how to tackle environmental challenges, Mr Gove said: “we should not seek simply to halt or slow the deterioration of our environment. We must raise our ambitions so we seek to restore nature and reverse decline.”

WWF Chief Executive, Tanya Steele, commented on Mr Gove’s speech, saying: “His vision of making the UK a global leader on environmental policy is essential if we are to stand any chance of meeting his goal to ‘hand over our planet in a better condition than we inherited it.’”

WWF looks forward to working with the Environment Secretary in tackling the ever pressing environmental issues we are faced with, and to make post-Brexit Britain a leader on the environment. He and the Government now need to back up his ambitious words with clear plans and action.

You can help Gove keep his word on the environment

Mr Gove said the UK can be a gold standard-setter for environmental protections. Your voice is needed to help make this happen. Join our campaign to tackle climate change and demand government action on household emissions

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