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It's time to make this General Election the wildest yet!

Posted: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 by DevonWildlifeTrust

Devon Wildlife Trust Chief Executive is calling for a wild General Election

Devon Wildlife Trust's Chief Executive Harry Barton says this is the biggest election ever in terms of its implications for wildlife.

In just over a month’s time, we will go to the polls again. This will be the fourth major political decision many of us will have been asked to vote on in as many years, following the Scottish Referendum, the 2015 general election and Brexit. But from a wildlife point of view, this is probably the biggest of them all.

What will our Government do?

80% of our wildlife protection laws reside at EU level, as does the policy and subsidy system for managing our farmland and our seas. Over the next two years, most or all of this will be reverting back to the UK. And as it does so, scores of environmental laws developed over the last 40 years will come under intense scrutiny. Will our government take a long view, see the sense in protecting our natural environment for future generations with all the benefits it brings to our health, wellbeing and our economy? Or will it see an opportunity to weaken protections, giving in to demands of developers, polluters and vested interests, under the false guise of making us more competitive?

Listen to us

It sometimes feels like we are constantly being asked for our views. But that, when we do speak up, we just aren't listened to. Or that we can’t relate the voting options available to what really matters to us, or that we're simply being misled. But we can be resolute in our beliefs and confident in our facts. Many more UK species are declining than recovering. The value of Britain’s pollinators alone is over £650 million. There is a wealth of scientific evidence showing that we are happier and healthier if we can regularly access a high quality natural environment. And more than eight million people are members of environmental organisation like the Devon Wildlife Trust.

Bee on forget-me-not flower. Photo Ben Lee

Will the future of pollinators feature in this June's poll?  Photo, Ben Lee

Last year’s EU referendum divided many communities. But the results of an Ipsos Mori poll in the autumn showed that those who want better protection for wildlife far outnumber those who don’t. It also showed no real difference in views between people who voted to stay or those who voted to leave. A desire to protect our natural environment and leave something that our descendants will thank us for has the power to unite us.

It's crunch time for nature

Protecting our wildlife certainly ought to be above party politics, and none of this is about trying to influence the outcome of the election. But it is about trying to get a better result for wildlife. We can and should tell all the party political candidates in our areas – whatever party they’re standing for - that we mind about the future of our natural world.

This is crunch time for the UK’s natural environment. We have a once in a generation opportunity to remind our politicians of this; and that we’ll hold them to account for the promises they make and their ability to live up to them. Let’s grab it with both hands.

Take action!

You can help give wildlife a safer future. Candidates will be talking to you on your doorsteps and in your streets.

This is your chance to let them know how much wildlife matters to you, and ask them what they plan to do to help it thrive. We’ve set out a few simple questions you can ask candidates yourself. Please pass them on to family and friends who share your commitment to the natural world?

1. What will your party do to ensure our wildlife laws remain strong and that steps are taken to restore the damage we have done to nature?

2. What will your party do to ensure that wildlife thrives in our seas once more?

3. What will your party do to ensure we have new farming policies in each part of the UK to provide for nature’s recovery?

4. What will your party do to make sure we move to a low carbon economy?

Please help make sure that all parliamentary candidates know how important nature is to the people of the South West. 

Let's make this General Election a wild one!

Read DevonWildlifeTrust's latest blog entries.


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