Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Coalition Government should now have a higher ambition for nature

As the new coalition government publishes its agreements, The Wildlife Trusts around the country are calling on it to raise its game in policies on the natural environment and commit to a White Paper on Nature.

Not only is nature conservation a fundamental “good” that any government should be aiming to enhance but there has been a growing recognition that our natural environment provides vital life-supporting services as well as enriching our sole. We need to take a long hard look at the way we make decisions about our land and ensure that the natural environment is restored. The Wildlife Trusts including us at the Sussex Wildlife Trust have therefore been calling on an incoming government to produce a new White Paper to fundamentally shift the ground in terms of the ecological restoration of our environment. Our wildlife is not just something we should “try not to damage too much”, it should be something that we positively aim to restore. A White Paper would identify the policy changes needed to restore our natural environment and ecosystems”.

The Wildlife Trusts, including the Sussex Wildlife Trust, have been working with the main political parties nationally to encourage them to be more ambitious with our environment. Before the election, The Wildlife Trusts wrote to the Leaders of the three main parties urging them to commit to introducing a White Paper on Nature and also to ensuring the designation of an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas by 2012. These letters and the replies from the Party Leaders can read at

The Sussex Wildlife Trust also asked the Prospective Parliamentary candidates about their commitment to the natural world and their responses can be read on our web site.

We have had some measure of success in that all three main parties recognized this in their manifestos. All have promised to do more for the environment including, in the case of the now ruling party, a promise to develop a White Paper. In a letter to the national office of The Wildlife Trusts during the election campaign, our new Prime Minister, David Cameron, recognized the importance of conserving our natural world for future generations. He said it was important to make a clear pledge that a Conservative Government would produce a White Paper on protecting the natural environment, including a focus on restoring habitat.’

Furthermore commitments have now also been made in the recent coalition agreement to develop measures to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.

So - the commitment is there, the promises have been made and there is plenty of help available from non-government organizations like The Wildlife Trusts. OK – it is early days but hopefully we can expect some delivery soon!

1 comment:

Lee Bradley said...

I am pleased to note that the government is taking such matters as biodiversity seriously.
I just hope that the inevitable bureaucratic red tape, in respect of the production of a white paper on nature, doesn't take as long to cut through as I fear!