#DefendNature against the #AttackonNature


#DefendNature against the UK Government’s #AttackonNature

Conservation organisations in the UK are buzzing with fury about the new Government’s #AttackonNature.  As we all know, nature needs all the help they can get, but the new Conservative Government under the leadership of PM Liz Truss seems to be prepared to ride rough shod over the natural world in favour of the economy.

What goes around comes around, and if we don’t look after this planet better than we have been doing, there will be a huge cost to each and every one of us, and an even bigger one to the natural world.  If anything, nature needs more protection now than ever before.

So what’s changed in the UK?

The UK Government has set out plans to amend or get rid of crucial environmental laws including the Habitat Regulations – they protect vulnerable wildlife and green places, and defend our clean water, air, beaches and rivers.

The announcement of 38 investment zones means that planning rules could be trashed – development could be incentivised to damage nature with no or little restriction. It would literally be a free for all on nature

On their website, the Wildlife Trust says that the new planning laws and investment zones which were announced on 23 September 2022, are a “free for all” on nature.  They weaken the laws which were put in place to protect nature from bulldozers and concrete. The Retained EU Law Bill could see the end of basic protections.  This could in turn mean the loss of designated wildlife sites.  It could also relax pollution laws – and that could mean more sewage in rivers and streams.

It doesn’t end there.

The UK government is reviewing the system rewarding farmers to help restore the environment, enhance nature, create space for rare species and habitats. It may go back to paying farmers dependent on how much land they own.  This could mean that large landowners get more money from the government. It is not what the Tories promised to deliver in the 2019 election manifesto.

The RSPB says that “we will never recover threatened species without [farmers] and the right schemes.”  And farmers can help wildlife.  Look at the Breckland Farmers Wildlife Network.  It’s a farmer led group collaborating to create a landscape scale wildlife network.  It covers over 44,000 hectares of farmland in the Brecks, special for agriculture and food production and home to many species. 

The government is reneging on its 2019 election manifesto – as Buglife will tell you

The Conservative Party Election manifesto for 2019 can be found here.  

Nature urgently needs our help. We all need to #DefendNature

In short, if you care about nature and the natural world and all those living there, now is the time to rise up and show your MP and local councillors you care deeply about it. 

This is our chance, nature lovers, to show MPs and councillors and all those involved in policy making that we CARE about nature and it’s time they did more to help and defend nature.  We are the ones who put them in their jobs, after all.  We can just as easily remove them!

Here are 11 actions you can take to #DefendNature:

  1. Go out and experience it.  
    Go for an autumn walk.  Spend some time listening to bird song.  You can’t defend what you don’t know and love properly.  Capture what nature means to you in your heart, your mind and your soul.  
    Remind yourself what we are all fighting for. Be clear about what matters to you about nature, and why you want to defend it.

  2. Contact your local MP and councillors;
    Write them a letter or tweet them.  The
    Wildlife Trust has a letter you can use and personalise if you want to and it has the search facilities you need to find your local MP and councillors.

  3. Get connected to stay in touch.
    Subscribe to newsletters produced by conservation charities so that you receive information on campaigns they are running and support they need from us all – the support won’t necessarily come in the form of donations.  There will be a lot of other things we can all do to help as well.

  4. Find out what you can do to help nature in your own area. 
    What conservation charities exist? What help do they need?  And help nature at home, in your garden, on your balcony or patio.  Share your space with nature.  

  5. If you can, donate to wildlife appeals. 
    Every single £ matters, whether you donate £3 or £300 or £3,000.  For instance, the
    Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has an appeal at the moment – they are aiming to raise £500,000 to save grasslands and chalk rivers, and an important wildlife corridor, home to endangered water voles, birds such as the kingfisher and pollinators. 

  6. Has your MP:
    Has your responded to the RSPB’s Attack on Nature e-action.  If not, ask them why they haven’t.

  7. Don't forget our seas.
    Follow the Marine Conservation Society for updates on fighting the ocean’s corner. 

  8. Pledge your support for wetlands
    Read the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust response to government proposals that could damage wetlands.  Wetlands are not wastelands – be informed about them to help you fight nature’s corner.  Pledge your support (i.e. add your name) for the creation of 100,000 hectares of healthy wetlands, including in urban areas, to help fight today's wellbeing, climate and nature crises.

  9. Be informed 
    Read the open letter put together by 79 organisations to the Prime  Minister which is on Butterfly Conservation’s websiteShare it as widely as you can.

  10. Add your voice
    Have a look at CPRE’s “Leaked email exposes gov’t attempts to bypass public scrutiny on fracking” article. Rees-Mogg wants to bypass public consent for fracking altogether. The government has decided to lift the moratorium on fracking and CPRE has launched a new petition calling on the Prime Minister to ensure communities have the final say on any application in their area. The CPRE also has a petition “Don't let the government deregulate planning– Ministers want to take the decision-making powers away from local councils and communities and hand it over to housing developers and Westminster central powers

  11. Take three actions
    Come up with (and preferably write down) 3 actions you will take to #DefendNature and be clear about when you will do them.  Do them, and spread the word on social media. 

You could also join in the People’s Plan for Nature.  The RSPB, National Trust and WWF have joined forces to launch the People’s Plan for Nature.  The final result will be a plan to protect and restore nature, that no one can ignore. Please share your thoughts on the future of nature by 30th October 2022.

Whatever you do, PLEASE do something

This is no time for any of us to think, “Well, there’s no point,” or “someone else will do it”.  Every single one of us who cares about the natural world needs to stand up for it and defend it.  There is no time to lose.  Now is the right time to act. 

There are millions (literally) of people who are members of conservation organisations in the UK*.  It has never been more important than now for all of us to get up and be a voice for nature

Nature has no voice.  We must be her voice, and we need to shout on her behalf for the skies, the seas, the mountains, the hedgerows, the rivers, the burrows, the ponds, our cities, towns and parks. We must defend them.

Nature needs us to act now. We need everyone to step up and get involved.                    

Please take action today.

Please don’t delay.

*According to Influence100, in 2022 the National Trust has 5,711,200 members, English Heritage has 1,200,000, the RSPB has 1,100,000, the Wildlife Trusts have a total of 870,000 and the RHS has 603,000. When I added up all the organisations which related to conservation (I included the RHS, Kew Gardens and Chester Zoo), they came to about 9,079,000 members.  Add in extras such as Plantlife, Campaign for Rural England and Butterfly Conservation and that's an extra 100,000 members. 

The Conservative Party has got 205,000 members according to Influence 100.  Liz Truss got over 81,000 votes from Conservative Party members (not the electorate) (Sunak got 60,399) to become the Tory party’s new leader.