Yesterday the Government released a draft Environment Bill. The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire believes a strong Environment Bill is needed to help reconnect our natural world for wildlife and people. We know our natural world is currently in a critical condition, with recent reports documenting huge losses including some of our much-loved plants and animals.
To help us prevent against the loss of existing protections, this new law needs to be overseen by an independent Green Watchdog, which is at least as powerful as what we currently have in the European Union. An independent watchdog would mean that if the Government breaks the law, the watchdog could start legal proceedings to encourage them to fix the situation.
Unfortunately, the proposals in the draft Environment Bill do not go far enough.
The Bill and policy note fall short in a number of ways:
- The proposed green watchdog is too weak. Much more is needed if it is to bear any comparison to the environmental enforcement powers currently held by the European Commission and Court. To do this the watchdog would need to be more independent and able to hold the whole Government to account, including through having powers to issue fines if the Government fails to implement environmental legislation properly.
- The Policy Note misses out nature recovery networks. We are disappointed that it fails to propose key measures needed to secure nature’s recovery; not least requiring the production of nature recovery network maps and compliance with these. (See The Wildlife Trusts’ Wilder Britain proposals)
How you can help
We still need to convince all our MPs that nature’s recovery must be a top priority so that we can create a wilder – and happier and healthier – future for us all. This is where you can help, by making an appointment with your MP and asking them to support a strong Environment Bill when it goes through parliament (the full Bill is expected in Spring 2019).
We’ve only got a few months to get them to make a difference, so please speak to your MP as soon as you can. See here to get in touch with your MP and for more advice, or contact us if you have any questions on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need the Environment Bill to give us:
- Nature Targets: legal targets for nature's recovery that politicians must ultimately achieve and regularly report on progress towards e.g. safer air to breathe in our cities.
- A Nature Recovery Network: a joined-up network of habitats that provide enough space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive.
- Legislation is needed to drive the creation of Nature Recovery Networks, mapped and delivered locally, to protect and join-up important places for wildlife, to bring nature into every neighbourhood and to ensure everyone, whatever their background, has access to wildlife-rich natural green space.