Nature is under attack from the UK government. This is the collective view of conservation groups across Britain such as the RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and the National Trust.
We agree. Over the past few weeks, the new Liz Truss government has announced a barrage of policies that will have devastating consequences for the natural world.
Below, we’ll explain how you can help to stop this from happening with just five minutes of your time.
It’s worth it because we can still pressure the Prime Minister to see sense – the recent screeching U-turn on the 45p tax rate has shown that she will rush to change course when there’s enough bad publicity.
Attack #1 – Scrapping environmental laws
In September, the new government announced plans to change or get rid of hundreds of vital environmental laws, including the Habitat Regulations, which protect wildlife and natural spaces across the country.
In total, 570 environmental laws were rolled into UK law after Brexit, dealing with things like sewage pollution, habitat protection and pesticides. The government plans for these to be automatically deleted at the end of 2023, despite Michael Gove’s promise when Environment Minister not to water down the UK’s environmental laws.
Speaking to The Guardian, Ruth Chambers, a senior fellow at Greener UK, said: “The new government is hurtling towards a deregulatory free-for-all where vital environmental protections are ripped up and public health is put at risk.”
Attack #2 – Unrestricted investment zones
The government has announced plans for 38 ‘investment zones’ across the UK, with lower taxes for businesses and shrinking of planning laws for industrial and residential development.
What’s more, The Guardian has revealed that councils can apply for investment zones in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of special scientific interest and green belt land.
Speaking to the BBC, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Simon Clarke, said: "It involves much lower taxes for businesses in these zones and enhanced planning freedoms so we can actually get projects moving."
The detail, as always, is vague on what this really means but ‘enhanced planning freedoms’ sounds a lot like ‘build whatever you like, wherever you like’. The truth is, we need tighter planning regulations to stop the destruction of what’s left of our natural world, not an open door for corporations to build at whim.
RSPB operations director Jeff Knott told BBC Radio Shropshire: "When we're faced with plans that we think would lead to concreting over vast swathes of our beautiful countryside and silencing the dawn chorus, we have no choice but to fight back."
How you can help
Ecotricity are committed to taking positive action on nature and wildlife, which is already under threat both from the climate crisis and the way we build on and use our green spaces.
You can help to fight these attacks on nature by joining a campaigning organisation or by using your vote wisely when you have the opportunity.
Right now, though, we’d like to ask you to take just 5 minutes of your time to write an email to your MP using the RSPB’s easy-to-use system.
Over 100,000 people have written to their MPs to protest. The more noise we can make, the more chance we have of getting the government to U-turn on these destructive policies.
We’ll leave the last word to the RSPB:
“From Cornwall to Ceredigion, Antrim to Aberdeenshire, the Government is risking the homes of vulnerable species including otters, birds, dolphins, and bats. This is an attack on the wildlife in your area, and the places you love. Together, we can bring a halt to nature’s destruction – but we must act now. Nature needs you now, more than ever.”
Did you know that you can help save wildlife by using your phone? Ecotalk is the mobile phone service that uses 100% of its profits to buy back land for nature. Switching takes just five minutes and you can keep your current number. Visit ecotalk.co.uk to find out more.
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