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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

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

Urgent action needed on plastics

In March, the UN announced a commitment to significantly reduce single-use plastics by 2030. In a new position paper, published in March, Link calls on the Government to go one step further and phase out all non-essential single-use plastics by 2025. This move could avoid 4,000 billion pieces of unnecessary single-use plastic waste being consumed in the UK between 2026 – 2042. Supported by 19 Link member organisations, the paper urges the Government to build on the useful framework set out in its Resources and Waste Strategy, published last December, and increase its ambition by eliminating all non-essential single-use plastics by 2025. Taking such action will show real global leadership in helping to turn off the plastic tap.

Net gain for biodiversity?

The UK’s 6th report to the Convention on Biological Diversity shows widespread ongoing biodiversity losses, whilst initiatives such as the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway are part of plans for a massive housebuilding programme over the coming years. In this light, Link welcomed the Chancellor’s promise in his spring statement of 13 March to introduce clauses to the forthcoming Environment Bill to require all developers to generate “biodiversity net-gain” when they build new houses.

However, the policy substance is yet to be agreed. For instance, how much gain will there be, and for how long? Link responded in detail to the recent Government’s net gain consultation, and we continue to advocate for a planning system which will enhance biodiversity effectively.

Conservation covenants, with caveats

The Government is proposing to introduce a system of conservation covenants: a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a “responsible” body, such as a conservation charity, to provide lasting conservation benefit for the public good.

Link sees the potential of such a system, which we feel must contain the right safeguards to be effective, and in March responded to the Government’s covenants consultation. Inevitably, the devil is in the detail and Link’s support for the proposals include caveats such as the need for a clear legal framework, effective funding mechanisms, and for covenants to be set up last in perpetuity.

Effective conservation covenants could help secure the “net gains” mentioned above, and indeed some Link members might themselves become parties to covenants if the system were introduced.

March blogs and publications

This month, Link’s Plastics Group launched its plastics position paper, urging the Government to get drastic on plastic. 19 organisations, coordinated by Wildlife and Countryside Link, are calling on the Government to phase out all non-essential single-use plastics by 2025 not 2042, helping to slash the ‘toxic plastic soup’ ending up in our oceans, rivers and countryside.

This month, Link celebrated now having 50 member organisations with a blog from our newest member, The Ramblers. Oliver Hicks-Pattison, Senior Campaigns and Engagement Officer, penned a blog calling for nominations for Britain’s best walking neighbourhood.

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

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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