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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

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

Merry Christmas from Link!

On our Christmas wish list for the year ahead, we have:

• Five bills that work for nature: Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment, Sentience and the Withdrawal Agreement Bills. We’ll develop policy and amendments in concert with other coalitions.
• A kick-start in implementation, with properly-funded agencies, a smooth start to agricultural transition, and a joined up delivery plan for key policies like the Nature Recovery Network and tree-planting. We hope to take forward our work with members on the core purpose of ELM and the shape of local nature recovery strategies.
• Three global treaties – oceans, wildlife, and climate – that reach the ambition and action needed to turn round the biodiversity and climate crises. We will play our part in challenging Government to be credible and ambitious for nature on the global stage.

To ensure we’re as effective as possible, we’re making some New Year’s Resolutions that we hope to feature in our strategy, which we’ll be discussing with you in the Spring:

• We’ll be a policy powerhouse for the sector: adding value to our members’ expertise to respond to Government policy and to help shape an ambitious plan for nature’s recovery.
• We’ll be an amplifier for your voices: helping communicate members’ messages in Parliament and in public, with targeted communications and advocacy.
• We’ll build capacity and coordination in the sector: sharing best practice and benchmarking in key areas like diversity and inclusion.

To do these things well, we know we need to modernise and streamline our approaches. We need to earn more income. We need to update our corporate governance and become swifter and more targeted in our policy interventions.

In the dark days of winter, it can be easy to dwell on the scale of the challenges in front of us. Certainly, there are environmental, political and social obstacles to nature’s recovery that may seem insurmountable.

But there are plenty of opportunities for transformation and improvement and, to us, it feels like our members are more energised, collegiate and full of ideas than ever before. Our members’ Christmas appetite for collaborative policy and advocacy is impressive – we are all hungry for change!

So, let’s be positive and ambitious as we head for the New Year.

We are excited to be working with you and look forward to winning everything on our Christmas list together.

Our joint achievements in 2019

A heartfelt thank you goes out from the Link team to colleagues across all of our members, partners and stakeholders, for all your hard work and joint efforts this year. Together we have achieved much for nature in one of the busiest and most turbulent political years in living memory.

Link’s joint policy work has gone from strength to strength with a record number of impactful consultation responses, briefings and reports. We’re helping to bring members together on more issues than ever before, with a new resources and waste group leading the way on giving a joint voice to the need for a definitive pollution solution, and coordination over the last year on the issue of bovine TB. We’ve also boosted the strength of our joint public voice through more joint campaigns, research and media work and by working more closely with other coalitions.

Just a few highlights of the work that you have helped us to achieve this year include:
• an influential report on farmer’s attitudes to public goods, maintaining pressure for a strong Agriculture Bill
• an animal welfare and sentience campaign securing Government promises that should now be enacted in law
• co-ordinated advocacy on multiple aspects of the Environment Bill
• a huge influence on the bold recommendations made by the Environmental Audit Committee in its invasive species inquiry
• coordinated UK activity on a EU-wide #ProtectWater campaign, which achieved the third highest response to an EU consultation ever, and prevented the Water Framework Directive from being weakened
• high profile media work on UK Marine Strategy failures

In these times of challenge and opportunity it is fantastic to see the sector pulling together, recognising the benefits of working in collaboration, and that we are stronger working together than we are apart. As Link enters its 40th year of existence in 2020 we look forward to making it a year that counts for nature through our work together.

A diverse debate to end the year

Link’s annual Nature Debate on 3 December, preceded by our AGM, provoked a flurry of thought-provoking conversation on the issue of diversity in the environment sector.

We were joined by an expert panel including Springwatch presenter Gillian Burke, youth conservationist and activist Holly Gillibrand, diversity advocate Samantha Moyo, zoologist and presenter Megan McCubbin, wildlife film-maker Tom Mustill, and Mothiur Rahman a diversity co-ordinator within Extinction Rebellion.

The panel got to grips with issues such as: how we change the views and open the minds of the gate-keepers of our media, recruitment, and decision makers; why it is vital to include indigenous peoples in the debate over their nature and land’s survival; and how we promote and enhance diversity within our own organisations.

It was an inspirational discussion to end the year and we thank those who were able to attend and contribute to the evening, and for the feedback that many of you took thoughts and ideas from the discussion back to your own organisations.

At the debate our new CEO Richard Benwell announced that in 2020 Link will be establishing a group working on diversity issues in the sector, and we will also be seeking funding to create an internship to give young people from more diverse backgrounds a foothold to get into the sector. We hope that working with you on these two initiatives will go a little way to help making our sector more diverse as we enter a new decade.

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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.

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