text of letter from Waldringfield Wildlife Group to MP and Environment Minister Therese Coffey
By Libby, Feb 11 2019 11:21AM
Dr Therese Coffey MP
House of Commons
London SW1A OAA
Please make the Environment Bill work for Nature
In Waldringfield, the Wildlife Group is doing everything in its power to conserve wildlife but we are unable to do enough due to the increasing degradation of our living environment.
It is horrifying to see such huge declines in our local wildlife and to learn of the devastation of wildlife in the UK over the recent decades.
The State of Nature Report 2016 stated that 56% of UK species declined between 1970 and 2013 and of the species assessed 15% are threatened with extinction.
Of the 218 countries assessed for ‘biodiversity intactness’ the UK is ranked 189, a consequence of depleting and damaging our natural resources. This is bad news not just for the intrinsic value of wildlife but for people as we all rely on a healthy and resilient eco system to survive.
We need help from Westminster Government to scale up the efforts of our Wildlife Trusts and environmental organisations. We are concerned that our Government’s current approach to reforming our environmental laws will fail to bring about the change needed.
We need robust legislation that puts the environment at the centre of decision making both in terms of development and agriculture before it is too late. The Environment Bill that is now being drafted gives us all another chance to create such legislation not to just maintain what we still have left in the natural world but a Bill that aims to restore it.
We would like you to support the Greener UK’s Campaign for an Environment Bill that:
1. Builds a Nature Recovery Network;
2. Sets ambitious targets for more wildlife, beautiful landscapes, access to green spaces and resilient eco systems;
3. Establishes strong environmental principles to guide the decision making of government and public bodies;
4. Creates an independent watchdog to protect our environment.
A Nature Recovery Network would protect, join up and enhance the fragments of nature that remain. It would identify areas where the greatest benefit for wildlife and people can be achieved and show the advantages of joining up places important for wild plants and animals, allowing them to move from place to place. Such networks, would then guide decisions on housing and development to ensure they deliver a positive contribution to nature’s recovery.
We believe that we need to act now to reverse the decline in our wildlife. The draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill published in December 2018 is not strong enough. In that Bill the environmental principles are not mandatory; there is no requirement for Nature Recovery Networks, the Office for Environmental Protection does not have adequate legal powers to hold government to account and there are no environmental targets.
We urge you to approach Rt Hon Michael Gove MP and work with him to make this new Environment Bill more effective by asking him to include these points in the Environment Bill. We enclose a copy of a booklet developed by Waldringfield Wildlife Group that explains the local part we are playing. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss these vital concerns.
Coordinator of Waldringfield Wildlife Group