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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

Welcome to Link’s news - a roundup of what's happened in December as well as our 2018 highlights. For updates from our working groups, please go to the policy hub. If you would like to submit news items for our monthly e-bulletin, please contact Jodie Le Marquand. To subscribe please enter your email at the bottom of the page.

December top stories

Link AGM and Annual Debate

On 4 December Link hosted its AGM and Annual Debate at the WWT London Wetland Centre. Link members and supporters filled the room to hear our expert, all-female, panel debate the question ‘Are we just fiddling around the edges of Environmental Disaster? With a domino effect towards hothouse earth on the horizon, how do we achieve the landmark shift necessary to transform our throwaway, nature-depleted and nature disconnected culture?’ A difficult question, but our audience and speakers raised some great ideas to take forward into 2019. These included focusing on the human health impacts of climate change and the role NGOs need to play in building a more diverse constituency of support for action on environment and climate change.

Waste recycling figures

In December, Link published new waste figures; estimating 103,000 tonnes of plastic packaging won’t have been recycled this Christmas, which were featured in The Times and Business Green. Though the Government has now published an ambitious Waste & Resources Strategy, some policies - such as introducing a Deposit Return Scheme by 2023 - don’t go far enough. If the Government is serious about being world leaders on waste, it needs to act with far greater urgency to tackle our growing waste mountain.

Link’s 2018 highlights

2018 was another busy year for link and its members. Below we have set out a small selection of key achievements:

• 2018 was a very busy year for Link’s Agriculture Group, which was cited as a key influencer on the Government’s Health and Harmony consultation paper. The Group submitted a thorough response to the consultation and also partnered with Greener UK to host a Parliamentary farmers market which was featured in The Times and BBC regional news bulletins. In 2019, the Group will continue working to ensure that the Agriculture Bill, and the policies that flow from it, secures a bright future for farming
• In collaboration with the UK Centre for Animal Law (A-Law), the Animal Welfare Group launched its influential Brexit Manifesto for Animals and will continue to campaign for an ambitious Animal Sentience Bill in 2019.
• Link hosted the biennial Environment Links UK (ELUK) conference in London where members explored how we can work effectively together, and with our Governments, to facilitate effective delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly in the context of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Delegates heard from representatives of Defra and Scottish and Welsh Governments, and experts from the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development network. Over 80 ELUK member representatives attended the conference, which was widely shared on Twitter. See #ELUK2018.
• We raised awareness of the threat of Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) pollution to the global Orca population by coordinating a joint press release, social media materials and a blog. Coverage was secured on the BBC 10 o’clock news, The Telegraph, ITV News, Yahoo News, The Sun, The Shropshire Star, The Evening Express and more. In 2019, Link’s PCB Group will be engaging with Defra and the EU to push for a legal compliance mechanism to be adopted at the Stockholm Convention in May 2019.

December blogs and publications

The Link Invasive and Non-native and Marine Groups united to respond to a Marine Management Organisation consultation on changes to marine licencing exemptions. The Groups were supportive of proposals to make it easier for divers to remove marine littler from the sea. However, they raised strong concerns around proposals to allow removal of seaweed from intertidal habitats and in-water cleaning of recreational vessels. The Groups were especially concerned that in-water cleaning would be a step backwards on biosecurity promises and could risk further damage from Invasive and Non-native species.

In December, Link published blogs from Graeme Willis, Rural Policy Campaigner at CPRE, on protecting and regenerating soil, the fragile skin of the earth. Sarah Carr from the Naturewatch Foundation marked International Animal Rights day by calling for animal sentience to be recognised in law. After the publication of the long awaited Waste & Resources Strategy, Maddy Haughton-Boakes from CPRE gave us the low down on what the strategy means in practice.

We welcome blogs from Link members and others. To contribute a blog for the Link website, please contact Emma Adler, Link’s Communications Manager.

In December, Link published the following press releases, reports and consultation responses:
• Government resources and waste strategy
• Animals feel suffering, joy and pain too – animal sentience in law
• Protecting and regenerating soil – the fragile skin of the earth
• Government publishes (half) an Environment Bill
• Clear access, clear waters
• Link response to marine licencing exemption consultation
• The plastic cost of Christmas – the weight of 215,000 polar bears in plastic waste

Follow Link on LinkedIn and Twitter

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.

The Link team also regularly tweets news and comment on Twitter, as does Link’s Director, Elaine King.

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