Environment Act


Environment Act

Help us create a robust Environment Act

Thurlbear Wood - Matt Sweeting

I need your help...My home is under threat and there are fewer places to find food every day.

Thousands of birds, insects and other animals are finding it harder to survive because our habitats, the green spaces that we share with you, are disappearing.  Whilst this is really bad news, there is something positive that is happening right now to stop this. And it’s something we need YOU to be part of.

The government has finally agreed to have a new law – an Environment Act - to improve protection for our country’s wildlife and natural places.

Critically we need the Environment Act to give us:

Nature targets

Legal targets for nature’s recovery that politicians must ultimately achieve and regularly report on progress towards e.g. safer air to breathe in our towns.

Nature Recovery Networks

A joined-up network of habitats that provide enough space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive.

Nature watchdog

An independent body to help people challenge bad decisions made by government and councils, which have a negative impact on wildlife and our natural environment.

The first part of this new law  has been drafted which talks about the proposed new nature watchdog called the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

We feel this first draft falls short in a number of ways;

  1. The proposed OEP watchdog is too weak. More is needed if it is to bear any comparison to the environmental enforcement powers currently held by the European Commission and European Court of Justice. The watchdog needs to be able to hold the Government to account, like having the power to issue fines if the government fails to implement environmental law.
  2. The policy note which goes with the draft bill does not mention nature recovery networks which are a key requirement to ensure we turn around nature’s decline.

Can what you do or say really make a difference and influence government policy?

Absolutely YES!  I don’t have an MP, but you do. And your local MPs in Somerset will be discussing this Act a lot in 2019. So if you care about wildlife; if you value the habitats and green spaces around you; if you want your children or grandchildren to grow up in a county that is rich in wildlife and natural resources; if you want clean air, healthy soils and sustainable landscapes then please be our voice. Be nature’s voice.  You can make sure we have an Environment Act that is robust, fit for purpose, and protects and strengthen our special places on land and in our seas for the challenges ahead.  A country with more wildlife is better for me – and better for you too!

The rest will be drafted and published later in the summer of 2019. When we know more, we’ll be in touch to ask for your help. Because to make sure the law not only protects wildlife like me, but helps us to recover, we will need everyone on board.

If we can improve this law, the impact in Somerset will be that it...

  • Protects YOUR fundamental right to a healthy, natural environment for you, your family and the next generation.
  • Provides protection for Somerset’s wild places -  working with nature not against it.
  • Puts nature at the heart of modern life in our communities and encourages people to make connections to nature for health and wellbeing.
  • Keeps Somerset's existing wildlife sites and natural places safe from harm.
  • Creates new wild areas and wildlife corridors across the county so wildlife can thrive.
  • Improves the resilience of the county’s unique habitats and ecosystems for the challenges ahead - especially climate change.  

Wildlife needs us. You can make a difference.