A hand crafted letter outlining why nature is important to you and what you want your MP to campaign for on your behalf has a huge impact.
One hand crafted letter from one constituent is important, a handful from several shows it's an issue and a dozen or more could indicate that it's something requiring more urgent action.
Add your voice to the mix and help us achieve positive action for wildlife.
At the moment, we're campaigning specifically to ensure a progressive and powerful Environment Act, helping us to build a Nature Recovery Network that is enshrined in law. You can find out more about that campaign here, and we hope you agree with our aims and are able to write to your MP specifically about this.
But a letter from you should be about what you feel strongly about, and a voice raised for nature and the environment - whatever it may specifically be about - helps to raise the profile of this cause with your representative in government.
Here are some top tips for writing your letter, and how to find out who to send it to.
Writing your letter
- Include your name and address. They need to know you are a genuine constituent, and to have an address to send a reply to.
- Be succinct. Your letter doesn’t need to be more than two sides of A4 (in fact, we recommend it isn’t). Your letter will be clearer if you focus on one topic, e.g., The Environment Act or the badger cull.
- If it's your first time writing to your MP, be sure to introduce yourself with a paragraph about who you are and why you care about the wildlife in your area.
- Use the EPIC format. The acronym ‘EPIC’ is a useful way to remember how to structure the main part of your letter. After the introductory paragraph, your letter should follow this structure:
E = Engage your MP with a short summary. Get your MP’s attention with a dramatic fact or short statement. There are lots of hard-hitting facts about the decline of nature in our country, or about other causes you might be writing about:
• More than half of the UK's species are in decline;
• 44 million birds have gone from our countryside since the 1960s;
• Of the 218 countries assessed for ‘biodiversity intactness’, the UK is ranked 189, making it one of the most nature-depleted in the world;
• 97% of our flower-rich meadows have been destroyed;
• Only 1 in 20 cases of bTB herd infections are transmitted directly from badgers.
Pick something that is relevant to your letter that you have personal knowledge of - or one of these - that you really care about.
P = State the problem. Present the causes of the problem you just introduced. For example, in our campaign for a strong Environment Act we're arguing that a lack of strong legislation has allowed the destruction of nature and habitat for the sake of short economic gain. In the case of bovine TB and badgers, badger culling to eradicate bovine TB is scientifically unsound. Several scientific studies have demonstrated that culling increases the prevalence of bTB in the badger population, and results in it spreading to other areas.
I = Inform the MP about the solutions. If you're writing about the Environment Act, we believe a new Act will need:
• Nature Targets: legal targets for nature’s recovery that politicians must ultimately achieve and regularly report on progress towards;
• A Nature Recovery Network: a joined-up network of habitats that provide enough space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive;
• Nature Watchdog: an independent body to help people challenge bad decisions made by Government and councils, which have a negative impact on wildlife and our natural environment.
Please do point them to our recent report ‘Towards A Wilder Britain’ here: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2018-06/Nature_recovery_network_final.pdf The report includes ideas for specific wildlife goals which you can reference, but it’s also okay to keep it more general.
If you're writing about badgers, then we are calling for a vaccination programme, and for the focus of any control policies to be on cattle-to-cattle transmission, which is the main source of bTB infection. You can find out more information about our position, here.
C = Call to Action. Now you need to let your MP know what you want them to do about it all.
For our Environment Act campaign, we suggest you ask them to speak to their party leaders and DEFRA teams about the Environment Act, and the issues you’ve raised.
In relation to the badger cull, the Wildlife Trusts are calling for an immediate halt to the badger cull, investment in a vaccination programme and other long-term solutions, including farm biosecurity.
- Ask for a response. Make sure they know you want to be kept informed about this matter. However, even if you don't get a reply, your letter will be read and logged, so will still make a difference.