Green groups launch campaign against government environmental reforms

4th October 2022


Web protesting against climate change illustration credit redgreystock shutterstock 2151751711

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IEMA

Leading environmental charities and campaigners have launched a counteroffensive against what they call the government’s “attack on nature” by mobilising their supporters to challenge Conservative MPs over the proposed reforms. The move follows the rewriting or removal of 570 environmental laws on the UK’s statute book under a government bill that revokes EU legislation.

Other reforms that have sparked concerns include plans for up to 38 investment zones where environmental and planning regulations would be relaxed in favour of development, the ending of the ban on fracking, and the possibility of scrapping the Environmental Land Management scheme for farmers and landlords. The environmental groups claim that these moves “go against the explicit promises the Conservative Party made in their 2019 manifesto and the mandate they were elected to govern on”.

The National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Wildlife and Countryside Link and the Wildlife Trusts are among the organisations urging members to “stand up for wildlife” and lobby Tory MPs against the proposals. The groups have a combined membership of more than 16 million.

“We are gearing up to fight the biggest attack on nature in a generation and the immediate outpouring of support from all quarters has been overwhelming,” said RSPB chief executive Beccy Speight. “The economy, food security and our own health and wellbeing is wholly reliant on a healthy natural environment, yet this government appears intent on amending or scrapping crucial environmental laws.”

Wildlife Trusts chief executive Craig Bennett said: “Nature is under attack from a raft of dangerous decisions by government and we know people are furious at the new threats. Vital legal protections for wildlife are at risk, fossil fuel extraction is being favoured over renewables, and the government is going back on plans to reward farmers for managing land in a nature-friendly way.”

Meanwhile, the National Trust and RSPB have joined forces with WWF to launch the People’s Plan for Nature, which will lobby prime minister Liz Truss and environment secretary Ranil Jayawardena to U-turn on what they describe as the “open season” on environmental legislation.

The plan aims to give the public a voice in co-creating a vision for the future of the country’s nature. This follows a poll by the charities revealing that 81% of adults believe nature is under threat and urgently needs help, while 42% want to act but do not feel empowered to do so. It will include a People’s Assembly for Nature, an independent and representative group of 100 people from across the country, which will be introduced this winter, and the first UK-wide citizen’s assembly for nature.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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