Brexit and Wildlife
Most of the laws that protect our wildlife and environment are tied to our membership of the European Union. This includes our strongest protection for special wildlife sites and effective regulations on pollution of our seas and rivers. So leaving the European Union could have far-reaching implications for our wildlife and all the positive impacts a healthy natural environment has on our lives.
But we British love our wildlife, and we could decide not just to keep the environmental protection that EU has provided, but to go further and improve it. After all, a love of wildlife unites us. In a recent YouGov poll, 80% of people said they think the UK should have the same or stronger environmental protection after it leaves the EU. People from all backgrounds, whether they voted to leave or remain, love wildlife.
This is why the UK also has one of the largest and most effective environmental charity sectors in the world, and a new coalition of charities – Greener UK - has formed to work together for wildlife, post-Brexit. The Wildlife Trusts are a key part of this.
We believe that the people of our islands deserve a world-class environment: clean air, clear water, a stable climate, healthy seas and thriving wildlife in the places we love. The Wildlife Trusts would like to see June 2016 as a stepping stone to a brighter future for the UK’s natural environment and future generations.
What needs to happen now
A world leading Environment Act is needed that:
- restores our wildlife and wild places in a generation and builds on vital protections developed as a result of the UK’s membership of the European Union;
- maps and creates local and national networks of wildlife corridors and natural areas;
- ensures the value of nature is recognised across Government, business and wider society; and
- creates access to nature close to where people live.
Our countryside and seas should be healthy and thriving with an abundance of wildlife everywhere, delivering multiple benefits for society, including food. We can achieve this by:
- directing public payments towards managing land in ways that bring back wildlife; and
- introducing new regulations and fair financial support for farmers and land managers to improve conditions for wildlife in the countryside.
Our seas should support abundant wildlife and a healthy, sustainable fishing industry, enabled by a framework for fisheries management that puts sustainability at its heart by:
- ensuring we are fishing at levels the sea can sustain (below maximum sustainable yield);
- ensuring there is a full discard ban; and
- preventing fishing down the food chain.
Your voice can make the difference
Ask your MP to make a Pledge for the Environment
We're asking all MPs to make a Pledge for the Environment - to commit to creating a future rich in wildlife. You can ask them to make this pledge, too. Let your MP know that this matters to you by tweeting them or printing off this PDF, and asking your MP to sign it and then return it to this email address:
Is your MP on Twitter? Are you? If so, why not send them a tweet direct to their Twitter handle. Include a relevant photo (perhaps a lush, diverse and wild landscape within your constituency) and tell them why you love this place or why nature deserves the highest level of protection. You can find a helpful list of MPs on Twitter here. Use #GreenerUK
Spend some time writing a letter to your MP, either by email, typed up or even handwritten (that personal touch will mean a lot). You could tell them about a special memory you have of wildlife or wild places, or even better, let them know about a local place or species that has recovered because of EU legislation. We have case studies here if you get stuck. Remember to send them a copy of the Pledge and ask them to sign it.
By letting your MP know how much nature matters, you'll be standing up for the wildlife and wild places that are precious to you. MPs appreciate the personal touch from their constituents, so a face-to-face meeting is the best way to make your voice heard. They'll remember you and your passion for wildlife. All MPs have ‘surgeries’ to meet constituents; this could be to ask them to support a campaign, like Pledge for the Environment. You can check online to see when your surgery is and, if necessary, to book an appointment. Don't forget to print off the Pledge and ask them to sign it!
You can see if your MP has taken the Pledge for the Environment here. If you get a moment, please let us know if you contact your MP - and what they say! That way we can say thank you to you and them properly.
Read our guide to things to remember when contacting your MP
If you get stuck or want any more information, contact Lucy or Haley on .
What is the Pledge for the Environment?
The Wildlife Trusts is one of a group of organisations unified by our desire for a thriving natural world and a greener, healthier society and economy: the Greener UK Coalition. We believe that, following the EU referendum, the UK should set out its stall as a world leader on the environment. To help make this a reality, we are calling on all MPs to support the below ‘Pledge for the Environment':
I believe that following the EU referendum, the UK government, working with administrations in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, must build a healthy and prosperous future for all. This means a thriving natural world on land and at sea, clean air and water, communities connected to nature, and a sustainable economy.
For the wellbeing of my constituents, for people at home and abroad, and for future generations who will depend on a flourishing and secure planet, I will do everything in my power to:
Establish the UK as a world leader on the environment by committing to match or exceed current environmental, wildlife and habitat protections.
Ensure the UK leads on climate change by publishing robust low carbon investment plans and ratifying the Paris Agreement this year.
Create a countryside richer in nature by supporting farmers and landowners to deliver environmental benefits alongside a thriving farming sector.
Post-Brexit policy recommendations for government (farming & fisheries)
Britain’s largest nature organisations have joined together to launch their joint visions for a post-Brexit environment, farming, and rural policy and on delivering sustainable fisheries. Full documents available to download at the bottom of the page.
Stephanie Hilborne - Building a Greener UK after Brexit
Steve Trotter - The Future of farm support: what are our post Brexit options?
Tony Juniper - Brexit and Nature: where next?
Ellie Brodie - A second chance for our countryside
Joan Edwards - European nature laws get the thumbs up
What could we lose? - a guide to some of the UK's environmental regulations tied to our membership of the EU
Our initial response to the vote to leave the European Union and the potential impact on wildlife and the environment