Wildlife Trust asks public to ask their MPs for a Wilder Future following publication of draft Environment Bill.

David Tipling / 2020 Vision

Whilst it might seem that Brexit is the only issue in parliament at the moment, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has highlighted the need for the public to tell MPs just how much they care about wildlife and the environment.

The Wildlife Trusts have been campaigning for many years for tougher wildlife laws and a more joined up approach to protecting the natural environment and following the Government’s publishing of a Draft Environment Bill before Christmas the charity is calling for help to convince all MPs that nature’s recovery must be a top priority.

Speaking about the draft Environment Bill Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “With all the toing and froing and acrimony about Brexit it is easy to forget that Parliament still has a job to do to agree new legislation. With Brexit looming, a strong new Environment Bill is essential. Whilst we welcome the draft Bill and can see that Defra has put a lot of work into it, it appears that other Government departments have severely weakened it.”

To help prevent the loss of existing protections, new laws need to be overseen by an independent nature watchdog which is at least as powerful as what we currently have in the European Union. An independent watchdog would mean that if the Government breaks the law, the watchdog could start legal proceedings to encourage them to fix the situation.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust feels that the draft Environment Bill and the accompanying policy note do not go far enough to tackle the serious environmental challenges we face or provide cast iron legal certainty for the future of our natural world.

The documents fall short in many areas but two key concerns are that the proposed 'green watchdog' is far too weak and the failure to include any reference to Nature Recovery Networks.

Mr McDaid continued:

Whatever your political persuasion or stance on Brexit, it is clear that the environmental enforcement powers currently held by the European Commission and Court have proved effective in forcing us to clean up our rivers and seas and protect key wildlife sites. These powers must be matched in some way and to do this the new watchdog would must be more independent and be able to effectively hold the Government to account. It must have the ability to issue fines if Government fails to implement environmental legislation properly.
Erin McDaid
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trusts also believe that Nature Recovery Networks - a joined-up network of habitats that provide space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive - are a key tool to secure nature’s recovery.

Mr McDaid added: “Ministers and MPs must improve upon the draft and create an ambitious and bold piece of legislation which reflects the scale of our shared environmental challenges. Unless they do, we will go on losing more wildlife and continue to see the health of our ecosystems degraded for generations to come. A visionary Bill would put nature’s recovery onto a solid legal footing by mapping where wildlife must be protected and where habitats must be improved. The new Bill must also set out clear legal targets for nature's recovery which politicians must achieve.”

The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the public to convince MPs that nature’s recovery is a top priority to create a wilder, happier and healthier future for us all.  Wildlife Trusts are asking people to meet their MP in person to discuss the need for a strong Environment Act. So far over a thousand people have contacted their MPs, with 70% of Nottinghamshire MPs contacted to date.

Find out more about how you can help ensure nature’s recovery by contacting your MP visit and learn more about The Wildlife Trusts’ Wilder Future campaign.

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