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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

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

Progress on plastics

The Link plastics group have been busy this month partnering with Environment Links UK to submit responses to consultations on the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), plastic packaging tax and consistent recycling system. The Group were also invited to give oral evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committees plastic food and drink packaging inquiry. The Group welcome the consultations and Governments commitments to tackle the issues but believe the current proposals will only touch the tip of the packaging iceberg. We cannot recycle our way out of the current packaging crisis, instead we need a reduction-led strategy to phase out all non-essential, single-use packaging and a transition to a refillable, reusable model.

Seas our future

This month, the Marine Group partnered with colleagues across Environment Links UK to slam the UK Government’s failure to achieve Good Environmental Status, as obligated under the UK Marine Strategy. The UK Governments’ report showed they had failed to achieve their collective promises to deliver healthy seas having only achieved 4 of 15 indicators. The Groups called on UK Governments’ to #SeasOurFuture and deliver the step-change in ambition needed to turn the tide for our seas. This call for action was picked up by The Times. The Group are now drafting their written response to consultation and are planning further communications to push UK Governments to up their ambition.

Link talks invasive species in Parliament

For Invasive Species Week 2019, Link hosted a panel session in the House of Lords with Minister for Biosecurity Lord Gardiner, Chair of the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee Lord Teverson and invasive species expert Professor Helen Roy on the issue invasive species and Brexit. Over 20 MPs and Peers heard from and questioned our panellists on the challenges the UK faces in maintaining and enhancing its biosecurity outside of the EU in the face of limited resources, uncertainty around access to international surveillance systems and intensification of the invasive species threat through global trade and climate change – you can read Link’s position on the issue in full in our Parliamentary briefing. Lord Gardiner spoke of how Government has converted European legislation into domestic law and its plans for enforcement, and he praised the action already being taken by dedicated individuals on the ground. Professor Roy even brought two Asian hornet specimens, caught recently in the UK, for Parliamentarians to see.

Following up on Link’s written evidence, Dr. Paul Walton, Chair of Link’s INNS Working Group, gave oral evidence in May to the Environmental Audit Committee for its invasive species inquiry. Among other things, Paul highlighted that prevention is much more cost effective than cure with regard to invasive species – particularly as climate change improves conditions for many species to establish, and that islands and their species are highly vulnerable to invasion and require special protection.

Throughout Invasive Species Week, Link also raised public awareness of invasive species with its interactive StoryMap and a series of blogs focusing on the impact of INNS on different habitats in the UK including freshwater and riparian, urban, marine, woodland and bogs and islands. Take a look at #InvasivesWeek catch up on all the action.

Farewell to Elaine

At the end of June, Link says a fond farewell to our Director, Elaine King, who is moving on to be Chief Executive for Chiltern Conservation Board after eight years with us. We know members will join the team in thanking Elaine for her great service and in wishing her well in her next role.

Elaine will give her own thoughts on her time at Link in next month’s e-bulletin. In the meantime, if you know someone who would like to apply to lead Link at this exciting and critical time for our organisation, you can find the job advert here.

May blogs and publications

It’s been a busy month here at Link with a great deal of publications being produced, including four separate consultations from Link’s plastics group, evidence for the Environmental Audit Committee’s invasive species inquiry and a response urging the sentencing council to include several additional aggravating features and produce clear guidelines for sentencing on wildlife crime.

Link’s plastics groups produced several blogs to accompany the huge number of consultations responses the group have worked on tirelessly on this month. These included a blog from Juliet Philips, Oceans Campaigner at EIA, urging us all to take action by sending an email to Defra in support of Link members’ core principles for revamping the system in response to the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging. Additionally, Maddy Haughton-Boakes, Campaigns Officer at CPRE, penned a blog voicing her support of the proposed deposit return scheme.

Furthermore, Invasive species week took place in May and as part of this, Link published a blog each day, highlighting the huge threat of invasive species in every habitat, from seabirds being threatened by island invaders to our freshwaters being taken over by invasives lurking beneath the surface.

Other blogs include Save Water, Save Wildlife by Nathan Richardson, Policy & Projects Manager at Waterwise in time with Freshwater Friday (part of Waterwise’s Water Saving week) and Alice Walters, Policy Officer at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, reminding us of the illegality behind disturbing dolphins in their natural habitat.

In May, Link published the following press releases, reports and consultation responses:
ELUK response to HM Treasury plastic packaging tax consultation
Save Water, Save Wildlife
We all need our personal space. So do whales and dolphins. It’s #RudeToIntrude
WCL and NIEL reponse to Defra deposit return scheme recycling collections
Have your say, make packaging polluters pay
Mend Our Mountains
There can be no ‘business as normal’
ELUK response to Defra Extended Producer Responsibility consultation
Save our seabirds from island invaders
Link response to Defra consistent household and business recycling collections
Forest foes: the invaders threatening our wonderful woodlands
Species invading our seas
Getting a grip on urban invaders
Lurking beneath the surface: invasive species in freshwater
Link evidence for EAC Invasive species
Deposit return for a #CleanPlanet

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

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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