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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

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

Securing a #BetterDealForAnimals
February saw the launch of our #BetterDealForAnimals campaign. Led by Link, the campaign has brought together 36 of the UK’s largest animal protection groups, and their millions of supporters, to push Government to bring forward legislation as a matter of urgency that recognises animals as sentient beings, and ensures their protection post Brexit. Our recent YouGov polling, covered by the Independent, demonstrates that over 80% of the British public want this too, but less than a third are confident Government will deliver on its promises. Twenty-three high profile celebrities also wrote to the Prime Minister, backing the campaign and urging her not to let animals become victims of Brexit.

The campaign launch culminated in a Parliamentary reception on 26 February at which over 50 MPs and Peers, from all political parties, declared their support for a Better Deal for Animals. A truly cross-party roster of MPs sponsored the event, comprising Nic Dakin MP (Lab), Zac Goldsmith (Con), Deidre Brock (SNP) and Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem). Secretary of State Michael Gove and Shadow Secretary of State Sue Hayman both addressed attendees. Michael Gove reiterated the Government’s commitment to primary legislation on animal sentience, but with no indication of a timetable for delivery – a concern considering the looming Brexit deadline.

The campaign will continue, with the coalition launching a petition, until primary legislation is brought forward that secures a better deal for animals, once and for all.

Drastic on Plastic
After promises made in the new Waste & Resources strategy published last year, the Government has launched four consultations seeking views on a number of policy and tax tools to tackle the environmental emergency that is plastic pollution. Defra is exploring the breadth of a Deposit Return Scheme, which the Link Plastics Group believe needs to cover all materials and sizes if it is to succeed in reducing and incentivising bottle recycling. The Link Plastics Group will call for producers to pay a greater share of the cost of packaging disposal in reforms to the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. These schemes, alongside consultations on implementing a plastic packaging tax on non-recycled material and de-mystifying the recycling system, show Defra is keen to make progress on this issue. The Link Plastics Group will continue to work with our Environment Link UK colleagues across the UK to ensure that new measures are as ambitious as possible and work for all UK nations.

Protect Water
This month the #ProtectWater campaign, launched in October, reached over 300,000 signatures. This makes the #ProtectWater consultation the third most-responded to consultation in EU history. This is second only to the number of consultation responses on daylights savings (4.5 million) and the Birds and Habitats Directive (550,000). The Group launched this joint campaign with many eNGOs across Europe, all determined prevent the Water Framework Directive from being weakened. This remains important as the UK leaves the European Union as the Directive will likely be transposed into UK law. The campaign is still live and will continue with several themes into the Spring when the consultation period ends. Our pre-made consultation responses are here for those who want to act now to protect our waters.

February blogs and publications

This month, Zoe Davies, Link’s Policy & Campaigns Manager, penned a blog on the need for Michael Gove to urgently bring forward legislation that recognises animal sentience in domestic law, and set out what this perpetual game of deal or no deal could mean for our animals. 36 Animal welfare organisations joined together to spread the word of public outcry as animals become the victims of Brexit.

Concerns for animals transcends political divides. We saw politicians gather together for the #BetterDealForAnimals event. Claire Bass, Executive Director for Humane Society International UK’s blog celebrates this event and highlights Gove’s speech calling on eNGOs to join together to ensure the stronger protection our animals deserve.

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

• Environment Links UK Statement: Access to Justice
• Link’s response to net gain consultation proposals
• Deal or No Deal – whatever the outcome, we need a #BetterDealForAnimals
• 36 animal welfare organisations warn of public dismay as animals become victims of Brexit
• Watchdogs straining at the leash for a better deal for animals
• British Celebs send open letter to PM demanding a better Brexit deal for animals

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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