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News for March 2017

The Great Repeal Bill
The Government has released its White Paper on the “Great Repeal Bill”. The paper re-states the Government’s commitment to ensure that the body of EU environmental law will continue to have effect in UK law. However, the paper contains a number of areas of concern for the future of environmental and animal welfare protection in the four UK countries.

For example, question marks exist over the extent to which powers will be devolved and over the ability of Ministers will have to amend legislation without full parliamentary scrutiny.

Link’s Legal Strategy Group is now analysing the White Paper in more detail and will be providing advice to Link members. A key focus will be to look at the extent to which the White Paper meets the following indicative policy goals:

  • convert all existing EU environmental law, including principles, into domestic law on the statute books;
  • confine any ministerial powers to create statutory instruments to the purpose of faithful transposition. Any changes to these laws should be made by primary legislation only, giving a full and proper role to the Westminster parliament and, where relevant, the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • introduce new governance arrangements that ensure the continued provision of robust regulatory, monitoring, enforcement and other functions currently provided by the EU institutions.

See Link's blog for a more detailed analysis of the White Paper.

Invasive Species Week 2017

Invasive Species Week 2017 took place from 27 – 31 March. Organised by Defra, and now in its third year, the aim of Invasive Species Week is to raise awareness of invasive non-native species (INNS) issues through social media campaigns, blogs and events.

The Link INNS Working Group actively supports Invasives Week and issued a press release welcoming the Government’s commitment to comply with the Ballast Water Convention, commencing in September 2017. The Convention will reduce the threat from invasive species such as the Chinese Mitten Crab, which is currently devastating UK fresh water courses. However, the Group called on the Government to do more to tackle the spread of INNS through other pathways, such as the restaurant trade.

The Group also published a blog every day throughout INNS week to raise awareness of the work that Link and its member organisations are doing to combat INNS. Topics included the need forrobust evidence to tackle invasive species, angling biosecurity, the danger of potted plants, the need to prevent invasives becoming established, and invasive species control on islands.

For further information on activities during Invasive Species Week, see #InvasivesWeek and #GetINNSvolved.

Link awarded three grants
Link is pleased to report that it has received three significant grants to support its work. Grants from the Kestrelman Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will be supporting Link’s Communications Manager for the next two years. In addition, a grant from the John Ellerman Foundation will support Link’s Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager for the next three years.

Both these roles are key to Link’s work with our 46 member organisations, particularly in light of Brexit and the importance of ensuring positive outcomes for the natural environment and animal welfare over the next two to three years. We extend our thanks to these charitable foundations for supporting our work.

March blogs
In addition to five blogs during Invasive Species Week, Link published four blogs in March. Belinda Gordon (CPRE) set out the need to take a more strategic approach to land use, and Pip Goodwin (RSPB) celebrated the first anniversary of the Species Champions initiative.

To mark World Wildlife Day, David Cowdrey (IFAW) called on Government to implement a domestic ivory ban to halt catastrophic declines in elephant populations.

In a blog on World Water Day, Richard Benwell (WWT) highlighted how restoring nature plays a vital role in providing clean water. Richard emphasised the importance of Link member initiatives such as WWT’s Working Wetlands Survey in demonstrating the value of these services.

To write a blog for the Link website, please contact Sarah Bernard.

Link is on LinkedIn
Link has a presence on the professional networking site LinkedIn, which includes updates on our blogs, news alerts and job opportunities. Take a look at our page and follow us to keep up to date with our work.