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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

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

July top stories

G20 Whales letter

With the support of more than 100 conservation and welfare groups, activists, and celebrities in 18 countries, the Link Whales Group wrote to all G20 leaders asking them to condemn Japan’s return to commercial whaling. The letter was targeted to coincide with the G20 summit in Osaka and Japan’s exit from the International Whaling Commission and was backed by celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Liz Bonnin, Steve Backshall, Dr Jane Goodall and more. The letter also received international media coverage in The Guardian, Reuters, and Japanese news outlet Asahi.

New Resources and Waste Group

Our plastics group have been busy over the past year developing work on tackling plastic pollution. From submitting detailed responses to multiple Government consultations, outlining a plastic position paper and having a joint voice on the Autumn Budget, it has been a busy year. With this increased activity and a broader scope from source to sea, the Group have chosen to formally become the Resources & Waste Group. With Maddy Haughton-Boakes from CPRE as Chair and Pine Eisfeld-Pierantonio (WDC) as Vice Chair, the Group will be working to reduce and where possible, eliminate all waste and pollution in our environment.

If Not Now, When?

Prior to his move to the Cabinet Office, and the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP taking up the mantle of Environment Secretary, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP delivered a landmark speech to key stakeholders on the state of the environment, entitled ‘If Not Now, When?’ The speech is published in full on the Wildife and Countryside Link website. Ironically delivered in a greenhouse in Kew Gardens, the effect of the speech was to highlight the very positive moves Defra have made under Gove’s leadership and the further challenges for the environment and the vision that is needed to meet them.

Announcements made in the speech included: strong independent governance and potential teeth on climate change for the Office of Environmental Protection; a new network of nature recovery strategies; an English Tree Strategy, stronger environmental powers for OfWAT; air pollution protections in the Environment Bill and through local authorities; and support was given for an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme for drinks containers of all sizes.

We thank the outgoing Secretary of State for his commitment and contribution, and we look forward to working with his successor in the role, to help achieve the ambitious vision needed to defend and restore our environment and wildlife, and protect animal welfare.

July Blogs & Publications

This month, Link responded to the Defra discussion document on the nature recovery network. Broadly, Link is supportive of the paper and welcomes the collaborative approach Defra and Natural England are taking on this.

Dr Julie Schnieder from ChemTrust discusses the Environment Audit Committee’s new report on ‘Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life’ and how it highlights the urgent action needed to protect our natural environment from chemical pollution. Mair Floyd-Bosley posed the question: Reserving the loss of biodiversity – what can be done for the countryside? In her blog exploring the key changes needed to transform our future so people and nature thrive together.

In July, Link published the following press releases, reports and consultation responses:
Reversing the loss of biodiversity - what does it mean for the countryside?
Link response to Defra NRN discussion document
The invisible threat of chemical pollution
Michael Gove asks: if not now, when?

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

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