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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

Welcome to Link’s news - a roundup of what happened in the last month. 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.

Prime Minister announces an Environment Bill

Link welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s 18th July announcement of a new Environment Bill, but challenged the Prime Minister and Secretary of State to be truly ambitious in the scope and detail of the Bill.

The PM gave little detail about the likely contents of the Bill. However, May did indicate that the Bill was “not just for Defra”, which is important as any meaningful environment Bill will need to be implemented across government.

10 Downing Street later tweeted to say that the Bill would build on the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Bill’s substance now needs to meet the Government’s rhetoric. After all, only 28 countries in the world are more nature-damaged than us [2]. In this context, strong, specific targets and world-leading environmental protections are essential ingredients for the Environment Bill if the Government in Westminster is to keep its promises on improving the environment for the next generation.

Link will be working with our colleagues in Greener UK to keep the pressure up for the world-class Bill our environment so desperately needs.

25 Year Environment Plan: Committee reflects Link’s concerns

On 24th July the Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee published the results of its inquiry into the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Link is delighted that the Committee took into account so many of our concerns. We welcome the Committee’s conclusions, and in particular its calls for:

• A strong and independent watchdog to oversee the strengthen oversight of environmental law
• Enforcement of environmental principles, in accordance with which all public bodies should act
• Cross-governmental responsibility to implement the Plan
• Legislative targets for the Plan
• Care when using concepts such as “environmental net gain” and “natural capital”

There is much to do to ensure that the Plan is delivered effectively, and our ambitions go beyond the delivery of the 25 Year Plan itself. However, the EAC’s strong report is a very helpful reminder to Government that it must match the Plan’s words with strong and comprehensive action.

Further Marine Conservation Zones championed

June saw the launch of the long awaited consultation on the third and final tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. After almost 10 years campaigning on this topic, the Link Marine Group welcomed the consultation and worked hard to formulate a joint Link response in the short six-week consultation period. They welcome the proposed 41 new sites and 12 new features for existing sites.

However, without additional sites and features the Group do not believe this third tranche goes far enough to complete the ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas in England as hoped. Specifically the Group are advocating for more sites for highly mobile species such as seabirds and cetaceans and additional sites for deep sea mud. They are also calling for effective management of sites and for highly protected marine areas to be trialled, given the mounting evidence available to support such an approach. Read the consultation response in detail here.

Opportunity for first foothold in the environment world....

We are seeking a Policy and Office Volunteer to join our friendly team in London one day per week to assist with the day to day running of our busy office.

Key responsibilities of the role will include:
• Website management
• Event Management
• Internal and external meeting support
• Research
• Contact and data management
• Member liaison

The Policy and Office Volunteer position would be ideal for someone looking to gain experience of working within an environmental charity, with an aim to furthering their career in this exciting and varied sector. The volunteer will receive an insight into the operational aspects of our work, gain general administrative experience as well as the potential of gaining experience of working in some of the following areas of interest: policy and campaigns development, membership, communications, office and data management, and environmental policy research.

You will have a keen interest in environmental and conservation issues and a sound working knowledge of Microsoft Office.

Although the role is voluntary, an allowance will be provided for lunch and travel expenses. Up to £10 daily travel allowance plus additional £4.50 (approximate) daily lunch allowance (during full voluntary work day only). All expense claims must be accompanied by receipts.

To apply for this position, please email a covering letter and CV to: Jodie Le Marquand

Application deadline: 19 August 2018

July blogs and publications

As thing’s heated up throughout July, we took a dive in the sea with many marine-related blogs to tie in with the Government consultation on the third and final tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. These included ‘Filling the gaps to protect our sealife’, ‘connecting the dots between land and sea’ and ‘Marine protected areas for now, the future and beyond’.

The marine theme continued with a blog in response to the launch of the fisheries white paper focusing on securing sustainable fisheries. This welcomed the Government’s sustainable fishing plan whilst advocating for more detail – as the devil is in the detail. Finally as the detrimental whaling practices in Iceland swept the news, IFAW pondered whether this would mean the end for the annual fin whaling hunts in Iceland.

It was a similar rhetoric for the new Environment Bill announcement, which we and our members urged the Prime Minister to make truly ambitious.

Other blogs urged us to be wary of how we value and measure nature, using the example of Natural Capital and highlighting continued species decline. Lastly, we used National Park Week to appreciate these parks as important assets to our economy, wellbeing and wildlife and brought to our attention the need for their protection long into the future.

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

• Securing sustainable fisheries within the marine environment
• Filling the gaps to protect our sealife
• The next chapter in the story of species decline
• Link submission to DEFRA consultation on third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones
• Connecting the dots between land and sea
• Government plan on sustainable fishing welcome but firm plans are needed
• Marine protected areas for now, the future and beyond
• Nature charities challenge PM to make the new Environment Bill truly ambitious
• Change is on the horizon for national parks
• A whale too far for Icelandic whaling
• Wildlife crime strategy a big step forward

Members Only: Save the Date - Environment Links UK Conference, 3 October 2018

Tickets are now on sale for our bi-annual conference, this year to be held in London. The theme is ‘How is the UK delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals?’ and the conference will include various workshops in relation to these goals.

The biennial Environment Links UK (ELUK) conference is a key opportunity for members of the four Links to come together to share information and experience across a range of environmental and animal protection issues and plan for any collaborative work.

Please note that tickets for this event are currently only available for purchase by members, as we wish to give you priority. Please get your tickets ASAP to avoid disappointment.

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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