The RSPB demands governments stop talking and start acting to save nature

Wednesday 21 November 2018

  • Over half of British people (63%) want stronger laws to protect our environment
  • Seven out of ten British people (68%) would like to see an independent body set up in their country to enforce environmental laws
  • And, nine out of ten (88%) feel we have a shared responsibility to protect our environment

After more than a year of closed door meetings between environment ministers, including a meeting this week, the RSPB is calling on the governments of the UK to provide more details about their plans for what leaving the EU will look like for our environment. Thus far there have been positive words about the implications for nature – but few positive actions.

No one could deny that we all benefit from a healthy environment that is rich in wildlife. According to a new YouGov survey for the RSPB, when asked about the laws to protect our nature and wildlife 63% of people want stronger legislation and safeguards. And this is something that we can achieve in the next 12 months.

Next year will be critical for our environment as the laws, protections and targets are written and set by the governments of the UK. As part of the Brexit process the UK will need to set out its laws for ensuring the environment is healthy and vibrant for people and wildlife. And, alongside that, they must overhaul our agriculture system so that it meets the needs of farmers, consumers, rural communities and the species we share our countryside with.

The strength of the new legislation will depend on an environmental watchdog or watchdogs to cover England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland that have the power to uphold environmental law including ensuring binding targets are met. And research by YouGov found that nearly seven out of ten (68%) people support the creation of a national body independent from government, set up by law that would be responsible for upholding and enforcing the laws that protect nature and wildlife.

YouGov also found that British people feel we have a responsibility to protect our environment. Almost nine out of ten (88%) people agree that we all have a shared duty in the UK to look after nature and wildlife.

Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director said: “The public clearly cares about our natural world, and we are all looking to politicians to put in place all the protections it requires. Despite some encouraging words about creating world leading environmental legislation there have been no firm details about how this will be achieved. And, it is concerning that, as decision-makers and scientists from around the world meet in Egypt for the last CoP before world leaders meet in Beijing in 2020, the UK is not taking the opportunity to lead the discussions about how we can ensure more of our land is well-managed for nature.

“Over the next twelve months we have a historic opportunity to shape a future in which wildlife and our natural world can thrive. We need governments across the UK to step up their ambitions and establish world-leading new laws that will drive the recovery of the nature on our doorstep – and in doing so, inspire other countries to act.”

Over the next twelve months the RSPB will be encouraging anyone who cares about nature and our environment to back their call for:

  • Ambitious and binding targets for nature’s recovery, set in law, that politicians must meet.
  • Environmental laws that are strengthened, not weakened.
  • A reformed system of farm subsidies that rewards the way landowners manage their land, not just how much land they happen to have.
  • A world-leading, independent environmental watchdog or watchdogs to hold governments across the UK to account and ensure we leave our natural heritage in a far better state than we found it.
  • Continued cooperation with other countries to help save our shared nature and tackled shared challenges.

To find out more about what the RSPB is doing and how you can get involved in ensuring wildlife and the environment are given a voice over the next 12 months, please visit our Let Nature Sing pages.

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