25/06/2013
Share 

Letter sent to PM demanding conservation action

8dbd5918-4bd4-41fa-a4cd-71e29d7e11ff
The beauty of the West Country's habitats, like here at Marazion Marsh NR, is not under question, but will the government be able to maintain it to its full natural potential under austerity conditions? Photo: Pauline Eccles (commons.wikimedia.org).
The beauty of the West Country's habitats, like here at Marazion Marsh NR, is not under question, but will the government be able to maintain it to its full natural potential under austerity conditions? Photo: Pauline Eccles (commons.wikimedia.org).
A letter, signed by over 100 conservationists, business leaders, landowners, celebrities and academics from the West Country has been sent to the Prime Minister by South-West Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB.

The text of the letter, printed below and sent yesterday (24 June 2013), demands protection for nature and the environment in the South-West to preserve the beauty of the landscape, endemic biodiversity and the ways of life of the local people. It says:

"Dear Prime Minister,

"On May 22nd, Sir David Attenborough launched a report on the State of Nature in the UK, on behalf of a wide coalition of environmental organisations. The report indicates that a shocking number of the plants and animals assessed are in serious decline. The South-West doesn’t escape this crisis and here in a region that trades so much on the relative quality of our natural environment, this is especially bad news for our economy, our communities and our sense of place.

"In the South-West we know that the well-being and prosperity of people and nature are intimately linked. We fear though, the impression has been created that the political response to environmental challenges must await an economic recovery, but in a region where the environment underpins so much, nothing could be further from the truth.

"We ask that you commit to the natural environment in an urgent and powerful way. The State of Nature report is a wake-up call for all of us that we simply can’t afford to ignore. Our use of resources does not have to be unsustainable and the way we protect nature can and must be far more ambitious.

All parts of society have a role to play, but politicians have to provide leadership and make significant pro-nature decisions in Government. We therefore challenge you to make a clear and public commitment to address the serious declines in species and habitats revealed in the State of Nature report. We ask that you commit to the natural environment in an urgent and powerful way – by strengthening existing and innovative environmental funding streams and critically, by ensuring that investment in the environment is properly included in all government spending plans (including business, health and education), in light of the benefits that nature brings to these sectors.

"We can give you clear actions for a step change in the way you approach nature in government, here’s just three:

"1. In this most maritime region of England, accelerate full and proper marine area protection as recommended by a region-wide consultation process in order to restore the marine environment and rebuild our fishing industry.

"2. Ensure that ‘High Nature Value' farming is guaranteed a brighter future from the 2014+ Rural Development Plan that Government will design and implement.

"3. Ensure that Government growth programmes fully factor in a restorative approach to nature in solving our economic problems, capturing the multiple benefits of so called ‘green-growth’. We must invest in our ‘natural capital’ by giving clear guidance to Local Enterprise Partnerships as they take forward local spending of taxpayers' money and EU Growth funds.

"The natural world is vital to the South-West’s economic, physical and mental well-being. We look for clear impactful leadership from you in the vital task of restoring it."

The full list of signatories, which include TV naturalists Nick Baker and Mike Dilger, can be viewed here.

As yet no response has been received, but Birdwatch will report on any developments as they emerge.
Content continues after advertisements