Friday, 2 September 2016

Pledge for the Environment

Ninety percent of the people in the UK agree that our wellbeing and quality of life depend on nature.  The vast majority, over 80%, feel that protection of nature should be at least as strong as, preferably stronger than it is in the European Union.  Yet, in the UK as a whole, 60% of our wildlife species are in decline.

The EU referendum result must be used as a stepping stone for a brighter future for our natural environment.  Whatever your view on the referendum, this is an opportunity to push for improvements in wildlife laws, action on climate change, the way agriculture is done, protection of the marine environment and generally in investment in our natural world.

To this end we have written to all Sussex MPs to ask them to sign up to a “Pledge for the Environment”.  This is the initiative of a wide range of national and local organisations including the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, CPRE, WWF, Friends of the Earth, New Economics Foundation, and others.

In brief, we would like them to do all in their power to:

  • Establish the UK as a world leader on the environment by committing to match or exceed current environmental, wildlife and habitat protections.

  • Ensure the UK leads on climate change by publishing robust low carbon investment plans and ratifying the Paris Agreement this year.

  • Create a countryside richer in nature by supporting farmers and landowners to deliver environmental benefits alongside a thriving farming sector.

I am now meeting some of our MPs and, I’m glad to say that several have signed up, indeed some were among the first to put their names forward.  Others will promote the principles even if they are not in the habit of signing pledges.

One thing is clear.  Brexit has not provided a mandate to allow the continued degradation of our wildlife; on the contrary most people demand the opposite.  Law makers and policy makers must now respond.