Why now? This summer, the government has the chance to end nature’s decline and reduce climate change by committing to a strong Environment Bill. Now is the time to push for bold action.
Most of the UK’s current environmental protections stem from EU law so what will happen after Brexit? Leaving the EU is an opportunity to create new laws on nature’s behalf. The mass lobby is organised by Greener UK, a coalition of 13 nature charities. It includes The Wildlife Trusts - Avon Wildlife Trust is one of the federation’s 46 wildlife trusts - Christian Aid, RSPB and National Trust. Greener UK was formed to lobby parliament for robust replacement laws, and this event is joined by many other groups including Islamic Relief, The Guides Association, and Clean Air Parents Network.
The UK is a nation of nature lovers but, ironically, one of the most nature-depleted. According to the State of Nature report (2016), the UK came 29th lowest out of 218 countries assessed for ‘biodiversity intactness’. The report argued that such levels of wildlife loss might exceed ‘planetary boundaries’ - a threshold below which ecosystems may no longer reliably meet society’s needs.
The first part of the government’s draft Environment Bill was published before Christmas. It sets out plans for a new post-Brexit environmental watchdog to replace the current system. However, disappointingly, the proposed watchdog lacks legal teeth. The draft bill is also missing legally-binding targets for reducing flooding and improving clean air in cities.
Assessing the draft bill, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee also criticised the government for excluding greenhouse gas emissions from the Bill’s definition of environmental law, leaving the proposed watchdog with no power to force local, central and public government bodies to alleviate climate change.
We will be lobbying for the second part of the bill to deliver bold legislation as well as to commit to a net zero emissions target. Against a backdrop of political uncertainty, we need effective legislation. We believe that nature deserves laws equal the degradation it faces. We will call on our MPs to end the UK’s contribution to climate change and pass ambitious laws for nature's recovery on land and at sea.
Here is how the mass lobby will be organised. From 1 – 4pm, there will be an organised lobby line queuing around Westminster, signposted and separated by constituency. MPs will come out and speak to their constituents in the streets around parliament. Whilst in the lobby line, we will be setting off as many alarm clocks as possible at 2pm. By doing so, we send a message that politicians need to wake up to the challenges our beautiful world is facing. So do bring a portable alarm clock or use your phone.
All are welcome. We want our MPS to know that people care about climate and wildlife. Please find out more about the event here.