Ask Rory to #DefendNature and keep the path to conservation clear
When you can’t see clearly where you are going everything gets much slower and more difficult. The recent stormy weather is a reminder of this in action - whilst driving to work last week the rain was so heavy that it was difficult to make out the car just a few metres ahead of me and this brought to mind what the situation would be like if the EU Nature Directives were weakened.
Just as on a bright and cloudless day I can see the sun illuminating the tops of the Pentland Hills to the south of Edinburgh as I approach the office, so the Nature Directives clearly define protected areas, helping industry put the right development in the right place, and to do so quicker and with greater ease than if they didn’t exist. In fact, even leading industry bodies such as Cemex agree, and that is why they, too, support the retention of the Nature Directives in their current form.
Corncrake (Andy Hay, rspb-images.com)
Since their implementation the Directives have proven beneficial for wildlife, for people and for business, but this isn’t clear to all, including our own government. Clouded by the false belief that the directives are a burden on business and that weakening them will help speed up development and boost the economy, a minority of EU member states are pushing for the Directives to be weakened. As a result the EU is in the midst of a review of the Directives. As part of this process on the16th December, at the European Council of Ministers in Brussels, Environment Ministers will agree a response to the review. Rory Stewart MP will represent all four countries of the UK at this meeting and we need your help to make sure he defends the Nature Directives.
This summer over half a million people spoke up to save the EU Nature Directives through the Defend Nature campaign – the biggest ever response to an European Commission public consultation, with over 100,000 voices coming from the UK alone. Proof that people believe in the value of protected areas. But whilst this is key to influencing the political outcome of the review our battle is not over. Before 9th December we need as many people as possible to write to their MP, asking them to contact Rory Stewart so he defends the Nature Directives on behalf of the UK public at this meeting. Adding to your letter, you can also back Rory Stewart to #DefendNature using Twitter and take a #DefendNature selfie in front of your favourite site or species protected by the Directives. All of which you can find out more about here.
Bluebells (Andy Hay, rspb-images.com)
The Nature Directives have helped to save and restore charismatic Scottish species like marsh fritillary butterflies and corncrakes, as well as habitats such as bluebell woods and peatlands – and there is the chance for them to help so much more. Changing the Directives would be a costly exercise and create uncertainty and investment risk. We believe that the UK and other European countries should reject reform of the EU Nature Directives and focus instead on their full implementation, which predictions indicate could support 122,000 jobs and contribute €3.05 billion to local economies. Together we can help keep the path to conservation and sustainable economic development clear, but to do this we need to let our MPs and Rory Stewart know that this opportunity is in front of them, even if they can’t clearly see it right now.
Thanks again for your support.