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News for February 2017

Calls for all microplastics to be banned
In collaboration with our sister Links in the devolved countries and the microbeads coalition, Link has responded to the four UK Governments' microbead consultation. The response represents the collective views of 35 NGOs across the UK on the current proposal to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products.

Marine plastic pollution poses a serious threat to marine biodiversity and is a potential threat to human health. In its response, Environment Links UK members therefore urge the UK Government to adopt a more comprehensive ban than is currently proposed. Additional measures include prohibiting the use of all solid water-insoluble microplastic ingredients in all products which have the potential to go down the drain or be discharged directly or indirectly into waterways or the marine environment. This important issue represents an opportunity for the UK to lead the way globally in adopting the most comprehensive ban on the use of microplastic ingredients to date.

Ministerial meeting on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill
A delegation from Link’s Land Use Planning Group met with the Communities and Local Government Minister, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, in February. The group highlighted their concerns on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords. Following the meeting, Link produced a briefing for Peers on Clause 13 of the Bill. The briefing outlined Link members’ concerns that the Clause could cause further strain to already overstretched Local Planning Authorities, whilst also having unintended consequences on the protection of the natural and historic environment. The Group is continuing to engage with Parliamentarians throughout the passage of the Bill to ensure that new housing is not at the expense of wildlife.

Environment Links UK Brexit Nature Coalition

Set up in early 2017, the new Environment Links UK Brexit Nature Coalition is developing and coordinating shared policy, advocacy and campaigns work on Brexit issues, with a focus on protecting the natural environment across the UK countries as we move through the Brexit process.

Comprising legal and policy experts from across the four UK Link organisations - Northern Ireland Environment Link, Scottish Environment Link, Wales Environment Link and Wildlife and Countryside Link - the group aims to ensure that the UK Government delivers its promises, in each of the UK countries, to bring all EU environmental legislation into domestic law.

Current work includes: mapping the implications of Brexit on the environment across the four UK countries; developing ideas and options for 'rebuilding' EU protections that may be lost as a result of the Great Repeal Bill; exploring effective policies to protect and enhance the natural environment, including through new legislation; and taking a strategic overview of relevant areas of work, with a UK focus, that are not being addressed in other Link groups. The Group is working with Greener UK on this important area of work.

New Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager
This month Link is pleased to welcome James Luetchford to the team, as Link's Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager.

James joins Link from Defra where, over the past two years, he worked closely with the Defra ministerial team on issues including marine pollution – such as microplastics and PCBs - whaling, marine planning, implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and domestic fisheries reform.

James has also worked as a science writer and with Link member Plantlife, and holds a Masters degree in environmental sciences from the University of Southampton.

February Blogs
This month Link published blogs by members on a range of subjects including: the forthcoming 25 Year Plan for the Environment; illegal wildlife trade; and the Government’s Housing White Paper.

Link volunteer, Tom Pye, also produced a blog, entitled Pondering the next 25 years for nature as I turn 25. Tom concluded that, for the 25 Year Plan to succeed, its success will depend on ‘the engagement of young people’.

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.