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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

Welcome to Link’s news - a roundup of what's happened in December. 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 Zoe Davies. To subscribe please enter your email at the bottom of the page.

Merry Christmas from Link!

The Link team would like to wish all our members, colleagues and friends best wishes for the holiday season and a Happy New Year.

The joint sector voice has been a strong one this year as members have come together to voice their views about the environment and animal welfare as we prepare to exit the EU. Collaboration will continue to be crucial in 2018, as we face an uncertain future, and we look forward to working with our members and partners to raise awareness of the importance of the natural environment.

lnternational leadership starts at home – Link’s annual debate

Link’s 2017 annual debate, on Monday 4 December, was a great success. Chaired by Karen Ellis, Acting Director of Science and Policy at WWF-UK, our expert panel explored how the Government can be a global leader for environmental and animal welfare standards. The panel, comprising George Monbiot, Good Energy’s Juliet Davenport, MEP Catherine Bearder and Client Earth’s Karla Hill, covered topics as diverse as the sustainability of global food production, Government versus grassroots action, and the fitness of our current economic model. If you missed it, you can re-watch the debate here.

Animal Sentience

Following the recent debates around the incorporation of animal sentience into UK law, the Government has announced a new Animal Welfare Bill. Importantly, the draft bill currently states that “Ministers of the Crown must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy.” Many Link members have welcomed this announcement and will be working with the Government to ensure that animals continue to be protected outside of the EU.

Environment Links UK position on post Brexit invasive species legislation

Organisations from across the four devolved countries have come together as Environment Links UK to publish a briefing for policy-makers on the conversion of the EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Regulation into domestic law post Brexit. This Regulation is vitally important to protect our native species and habitats from the threat of invasive, non-native species. It does this by restricting the import, keeping, transport, release, reproduction and sale of the most dangerous IAS. This emphasis on preventative measures contrasts sharply with existing UK legislation and exemplifies why the IAS Regulation significantly improves existing UK biosecurity legislation.

December Blogs

In December, Richard Benwell, WWT, penned a blog in advance of the debate Committee Day 6 of the Withdrawal Bill, when MPs will posed critical questions on environmental governance post-Brexit. Richard highlighted the functions that the EU provides on environmental governance, and how the UK may replicate these in the future.

Simon Wightman, RSPB, welcomed the Government’s new set of farming rules for water, which establish a mandatory baseline of good practice that land managers across England must follow.

Rick Hebditch and Marcus Gilleard, National Trust, wrote a blog to mark the launch of a new report from National Trust, RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts which reveals that five times the level of current investment in the farmed environment is needed if the UK is to meet existing commitments to protect nature post-Brexit.

To contribute a blog for the Link website, please contact Emma Adler.

Link is 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.