Twitter LinkedIn

Wildlife and Countryside Link News

Welcome to Link’s news - a roundup of what's happened in August. 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.

Chris Packham invites us to Walk for Wildlife

We are delighted to be working with naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham to highlight the plight of nature in Britain and to help inspire everyone to take action to reverse the decline of our environment.

This month we published a guest blog by Chris, in which he says it’s “now or never” for our wildlife and natural environment. The blog invites everyone to join the first “People’s Walk for Wildlife” in London on Saturday 22 September, where people from all walks of life will show how much they care about nature. Chris also reflects our concerns on the need for strong Governmental action on our global biodiversity targets and a comprehensive and effective new Environment Act.

55 NGOs urge Theresa May to stick to her guns on future farming policy

A coalition of 55 NGOs concerned with the environment, animal welfare, public access, farming and public health, including 36 Link members, wrote to the Prime Minister in August urging her to keep her commitment to an Agriculture Bill with the principle of ‘public money for public goods’ at its heart.

The letter was written amid rumours that the Prime Minister is under pressure to U-turn on future farming policy, diluting the focus on public goods and erring towards a policy much more akin to the widely discredited Common Agricultural Policy. The coalition warned that, if this commitment is watered down, the resilience of the natural environment on which farmers depend, and the fairness with which public money is spent, are at huge risk.

Wildlife needs clean air too

Air pollution doesn't just affect human health – it also has disastrous impacts on the flora, fauna and fungi in our most precious habitats. This is the key message in Link’s response to the Government’s draft Clean Air Strategy.

Link members welcome the Government’s recognition of the agricultural industry’s contribution to poor air quality, and its acknowledgement that air pollution negatively impacts the natural environment, but the actions proposed within the strategy are not fit to address this serious and growing problem. Link will continue to work with the Government to ensure the final strategy genuinely safeguards nature, as well as people, from air pollution.

Tributes to Link’s Founder, Peter Melchett

At the end of August, Link was sad to learn of the death of Link’s Founder and first Chair, Peter Melchett. Described in one tribute as ‘gentle, kind, brave & passionate...a giant of the British environmental movement and of organic farming', one of Peter’s many enduring legacies will be as the catalyst that led to the formation of Wildlife and Countryside Link.

Recognising the impact of NGOs speaking with one voice, Peter worked with other visionaries in environmental groups, including the Wildlife Trusts, Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB, to set up the organisation in 1980. The following year, after sustained and intensive Link lobbying and much parliamentary debate, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 - the nation’s first comprehensive wildlife law – received Royal assent.

For Link’s 30th anniversary publication, Making the Link, Peter said “There is nothing those with power who are defending the status quo like more than for those advocating change in the public interest to argue amongst themselves. Some good causes get nowhere for this reason. Over the last 30 years, those arguing the case for our wildlife and countryside have had real success – in part because they are right, in part because of the wonderful work of particular groups – and in part because Link has ensured the movement has remained a largely united and coherent, and thus a powerful force.”

Almost 40 years after Link came into being, the Link family has grown to comprise 48 environment, landscape and animal welfare NGOs. Working with our sister Links in the devolved countries, we collectively represent 150 NGOs in the UK. The need to speak truth to power has never been greater. That we continue to do so, is a fitting way to honour Peter’s original vision.

August blogs and publications

As summer draws to a close, it’s time to think about wildlife and fight for its protection. A blog from environment campaigner Chris Packham states caring is not enough – it’s now or never for British wildlife. 55 NGOs, including many Link members, came together to write to the Prime Minister insisting on a strong Agriculture Bill. Additionally, lawyer Carol Day explains how the recent high court case challenging badger culling shows that the Judicial Review system is too weak to deliver for animal welfare or environmental justice.

On World Cat Day, we took the chance to think of wild cousins in ‘It’s time to stop cheating cheetahs’ and in National Marine Week we celebrated our wonderful seas and the amazing wildlife and habitats found beneath the waves.

Looking ahead to the 67th International Whaling Commission meeting, starting on 10 September, Link published two blogs. Mark Simmonds from Humane Society International outlines the history of the IWC and its increasingly valuable role as a conservation organisation, while Juliet Phillips from the Environmental Investigation Agency explains the importance of keeping commercial whaling well and truly in the past.

Other blogs and publications included responding to the general sentencing guidelines consultation, the draft clean air strategy and the environmental principles and governance consultation. Hannah Freeman from WWT penned a blog asking whether the Government will take the chance to deliver on its promises for the environment.

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 August, Link published the following press releases, reports and consultation responses:

• The International Whaling Commission: Conservation in the 21st century
• Coalition Agriculture Bill letter to Prime Minister
• Whaling without purpose: The unjustifiable commercial pursuit of ocean giants
• Response to General Sentencing Guidelines consultation
• Judicial review – a blunt tool for badger protection
• Response to Draft Clean Air Strategy
• It’s time to action now or never for British wildlife. Caring is not enough
• Response to Environmental Principles and Governance Consultation
• Time to stop cheating cheetahs
• Will Government take the chance to deliver its promises for the environment?
• Celebrating our seas in National Marine Week

Members Only: updated programme for the Environment Links UK Conference, 3 October 2018

Tickets are now on sale for the biennial Environment Links UK (ELUK) conference - this year being hosted by Wildlife and Countryside Link in London. The event is a key opportunity for members of the four country Links to come together to share information and experience across a range of environmental and animal protection issues and to plan our collaborative work.

Please note that tickets for accommodation and dining, the evening prior to the conference, are available for purchase until 10pm on Sunday 2 September.

The conference theme is ‘How is the UK delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals?’ and the event will include updates from NGO and country Government leads, plus various workshops exploring delivery of these goals.

Please note that tickets for this event are currently only available for purchase by members.

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.

In this section: