The UK Government has said it will “make ours the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.” We’ve been promised a new Environment Bill for England, to replace the EU’s nature laws and “green watchdog” role as we leave the EU, and to help nature to recover.
Wildlife and Countryside Link welcomes these promises, and we and our members are campaigning hard for a strong environment act to match the scale of the threat nature faces.
Why we need a new environment bill
Our planet is in big trouble. The United Nations has recently reported a massive decline in nature, with one out of eight million species threatened, and said we have just twelve years left to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The UK is among the most nature-depleted countries on earth. For example:
• Between 1970 and 2013, 56% of UK species declined
• Of the 218 countries assessed for ‘biodiversity intactness’, the UK is ranked 189
• Only 14% of rivers in England are in good ecological condition
• Farmland birds have declined 48% since 1970, with the turtle dove, grey partridge, corn bunting and tree sparrow declining by more than 80 per cent
We can turn the tide, but we need urgent action now, especially from Government.
Government proposes a weak bill, and Link responds
In December 2018 the Government published, in draft, the first part of the Environment Bill, which proposes a new green watchdog, and the bringing into law of environmental principles such as “the polluter pays.” The draft was disappointing. It proposed a weak “Office for Environmental Protection” with little power to challenge environmental destruction and no role on climate change, and the downgrading of the EU’s environmental principles. See here for our response to the Parliamentary inquiry into the draft bill.
Will the full bill be good enough to help nature recover?
The full Environment Bill could be introduced to Parliament as soon as this July. The second (so far unpublished) part of the Bill is expected to have objectives to improve the state of our water and air, management of waste and resources, and nature.
Link has been working with our friends at Greener UK to urge the Government to make sure the Environment Bill really matches the scale of the crisis we face.
Attend a mass lobby of Parliament on 26th June organised by Greener UK and the Climate Coalition. See here for details
Membership of Wildlife and Countryside Link is open to national and international voluntary or other non-profit organisations based in England. Member organisations must be able to demonstrate an interest in furthering the work of Link, and their aims must include the protection of wildlife, landscape and the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Individual members of the public are not eligible to join Link, but may be interested in joining one of Link's member organisations.