Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The general election in the West Country: the issues >>> environment

There are questions as to what the forthcoming election will bring to the farming community:
Futures Forum: The general election in the West Country: the issues >>> farming

There are also questions around what the election will mean for the environment:

Nature charities call for wildlife to become a 2017 election issue

By WMNJBayley | Posted: May 17, 2017

Kynance Cove

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The South West's most influential rural campaign groups have penned a hard-hitting letter to political candidates in next month's election warning them that nature is struggling in the region and they need to give it a higher priority if they want our votes.

The regional director of the National Trust, Mark Harold, along with the chief executives in the South West of the RSPB, Nick Bruce-White, Devon Wildlife Trust, Harry Barton and Dorset Wildlife Trust Dr Simon Cripps ask four stark questions of General Election candidates in the region in their letter (below).

They want candidates to go public with their commitments by posting their responses on their websites and tweeting their message, using the hashtag #GreenerSW.

The intervention by organisations that are avowedly non-political marks a growing trend in this election for special interest groups to set out wish lists and urge candidates to sign up to back them in return for votes. Commitments made by candidates will be checked against delivery, they insist.

Mark Harold, regional director of the National Trust said: “The South West's fantastic coast and countryside underpins our tourism economy and brings millions of people to the region each year. As we leave the EU, we need to restore and enhance our natural environment in a way that's great for wildlife, great for people and great for the economy.

“We would like candidates to show how they will step up to this challenge, and stand up for nature in the South West."

Harry Barton, chief executive, Devon Wildlife Trust said; “This General Election is the best chance to change the fortunes of wildlife for the better in over 40 years. It's up to all of us to tell our political candidates that we believe this matters."

Dear General Election Candidates 2017 How will you make a #GreenerSW

We are a group of leading environmental organisations who believe passionately that thriving wildlife, healthy seas, clean air, unpolluted water and access to nature and wild places are fundamental to the well-being of our country and its residents and businesses.

The South West's beautiful natural environment underpins the regional economy and makes us happier and healthier. It is among the strongest factors that people in the South West value about where they live.

Nature provides us with so much. Clean water, clean air, pollinated plants and protects us against flooding, all for free.

But these vital services are under huge pressure and nature is struggling. In our lifetimes, nearly 60% of UK species have declined and 15% are at risk of extinction.

Yet it doesn't have to be like this. There is now overwhelming evidence that working with nature saves money, makes us safer and improves our health.This election is particularly crucial to our aims and to our members – collectively over one million within the South West, as decisions made as the UK leaves the EU are likely to have a profound effect on our environment and the laws on which its protection relies.

There is every opportunity that this could be for the better, the risk is that it is for the worse.

Our organisations have no political affiliations but we are determined that nature should not be the forgotten issue and interested in what candidates of any party have to say about nature and the environment.

So, we are asking you to tell us:

1. What will you do to ensure our wildlife is protected and restored after Brexit?

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

3. What will you do to ensure we have new farming policies that support nature's recovery?

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

This is an opportunity for you to get your environmental vision out to a significant number of your prospective constituents. Please post your response in full on your website and tweet us using #GreenerSW 

Yours faithfully,
National Trust South West, 
RSPB South West, 
Devon Wildlife Trust and 
Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Nature charities call for wildlife to become a 2017 election issue | Plymouth Herald

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