The people of Gloucestershire call for a strong Environment Act

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Gareth Parry
Gareth Parry signed this petition

Why we need a strong Environment Act

The UK has become one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, ranking 189th out of the 219 countries assessed by the WWF. Successive governments have repeatedly failed to stop the loss of wildlife. Over the past 70 years more than half of the UK’s plants, animals, insects and fungi have declined and 1 in 10 species are now threatened by extinction.

In 2010, the UK failed to meet its international commitment as a signatory of the Convention on Biological Diversity to halt wildlife declines. The UK is now failing to meet nearly all of the targets it is supposed to reach by 2020 to protect and restore nature. In Gloucestershire, we have lost 70% of our once famous traditional orchards and only small fragments of our wildflower-rich meadows remain.

Many species have already been lost from the county and species such as the nightingale, small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly, water vole, white-clawed crayfish, violet click beetle, spreading bellflower and curlew are also at risk.

There is still time to act
There is still time to put Gloucestershire’s nature back into recovery, but we must take drastic action and we must take it now. We need nature’s recovery to be supported by strong laws which are effectively enforced.

The UK’s existing environmental laws offer relatively little protection to wildlife habitats and the species that live there. The strongest of these laws will be lost as the UK leaves the European Union. The Government committed to introducing a new ‘world-leading’ Environmental Act in 2019 to achieve its ambition to be the first generation to leave the natural world in a better condition than it found it. However, the draft legislation is a significant weakening of existing environmental laws. It will not tackle the serious environmental challenges we face or provide legal certainty for the future of our wildlife.

It’s not only wildlife that is in trouble, degradation of the environment and climate change are huge threats to our economy and way of life. People are increasingly suffering from a disconnection with nature. And soils are washing away, as our rivers and the air we breathe are polluted.

The Environment Act could be a once in a generation opportunity to secure nature’s recovery.

Ask Gloucestershire's MPs and Peers to support wildlife
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust needs your support in calling for local MPs and Peers to commit to delivering a strong Environment Act that puts nature’s recovery into law. Our concerns draw upon the knowledge we have gained from nearly 60 years in wildlife conservation and the wisdom of our 28,000 members and 500 volunteers.

By signing this petition you are helping us to demand that Gloucestershire’s MPs and Peers get involved in the development of a strong Environment Act which includes:

A strong, independent environmental watchdog: the Act must create an effective watchdog to hold government and organisations to account. The watchdog must be independent of government and be able to hold the whole Government to account. It must have the powers to issue substantial fines to the Government and any organisation which breaks environmental laws.

Securing nature’s recovery in law: require the production of a plan to restore, create and connect a network of wild spaces that will support nature’s recovery – a Nature Recovery Network. This should have measurable targets for restoring nature and the power to enforce and compliance with these.

The Environment Act must apply to government spending decisions: the environmental principles must apply to funding decisions across government and the Secretary of State for the Environment should not be able to veto enforcement of the legislation.