Last modified: 22 July 2013
Image: Andy Hay
On Wednesday, 24 July, The Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies AM, will host a Summit at the Royal Welsh Show to look critically at how to halt the loss of wildlife in Wales. The Minister announced the event in response to the State of Nature report launched in May.
The report was launched around the UK with Sir David Attenborough speaking at the event in The Natural History Museum, London, and Iolo Williams giving an impassioned appeal at the launch in Cardiff. The report provides us with a stark reminder of what is important to the future of wildlife. In the UK, 60% of our species have declined over the last 50 years and 31% have severely declined.
Iolo Williams implored politicians, conservationists and the people of Wales, to halt and reverse the declines in nature. His speech has had nearly 15,000 views on YouTube. He challenged the government by asking “What will your grandchildren think of you?”
Katie-Jo Luxton, RSPB Cymru’s Director said, “Iolo appealed to the people of Wales to take urgent steps to restore our wildlife or risk depriving our children and grandchildren of their natural heritage. Since uploading his speech onto the social media site, we have been overwhelmed with the response. It went viral within minutes and the viewing numbers are still rising.
The State of Nature partners are looking forward to Alun Davies AM’s speech to see what leadership and resources will be put towards tackling this devastating loss. At the launch back in May, Alun Davies AM committed to tackling this challenge head on, and Wednesday will be the first test of that commitment.
Katie-Jo Luxton continued, “Saving nature in Wales has to be a joint effort, which requires commitment across Government and civil society to work together. We are acting on behalf of the people of Wales who expect our wildlife to be fully protected, many of whom are members and volunteer with us and are willing to invest their time and money alongside us in saving nature.”
These are the steps the partnership wants the government to take:
Stop the loss of our wildlife
• Increase our efforts to save Wales’ species and habitats that need urgent help, in particular taking urgent actions to protect those species on the brink of extinction.
• Invest in monitoring to understand the changes our wildlife so we will know if we are succeeding in halting declines.
• Ensure we have effective policies and funding to support the above.
Protect the best remaining places for wildlife
• Bring urgency to our effort to ensure our protected sites for wildlife are in the best possible condition for species to thrive and are able to cope with our changing environment.
• Improve our understanding of those species that are doing well and those that are declining on our protected sites.
• Use existing legislation fully to protect our wildlife on land and at sea.
Restore the rest of our countryside and seas for nature
• Ensure wildlife and people have a future in our farmed landscapes with an effective agri-environment scheme that makes the most of the public money spent in the countryside - sustaining rural economies and providing homes for nature.
• Make sure new Planning and Environmental Bills in Wales protect wildlife fully and that new developments create space for nature.
• Create new habitat, restore and enrich our degraded habitats – enrich areas under farmland, forestry, urban and fisheries through nature friendly management practices.
Katie-jo Luxton concluded: “We want Alun Davies AM to announce a clear recovery plan for nature and ensure the money is there to deliver it. A good first step will be making the most of farm subsidies and putting the maximum allowed towards supporting wildlife friendly farming [see notes 4].
“We welcomed the Ministers statement on the future of Glastir last week (18 July), the upcoming review of Glastir must ensure the scheme becomes an effective means of supporting farmers to safeguard wildlife and create habitat for threatened plants and animals. If we don’t get it right this time once common species of wildflowers, butterflies and birds like lapwings and curlews may well be lost to the Welsh countryside forever.”
Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.
Create a home for nature