The snap General Election on the 8th of June is a chance for us all to make sure that the environment is a priority for the next government.
A healthy environment is fundamental to the well-being and prosperity of our own and future generations. Criminally, in the 2015 general election, the environment really didn’t feature. This time it has to be different. Whatever our individual politics, the one thing we should all be able to agree on is the need for Sussex to be a place for nature’s recovery, where people and wildlife thrive together.
Never before have the stakes for wildlife been so great. The majority of our environmental laws are currently wrapped up with our membership of the European Union; and so are some really key policies that affect wildlife – including air quality, water quality, agriculture and fisheries.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, Ebernoe Common, Pevensey Levels, Malling Down and Waltham Brooks are just some of our international wildlife hotspots currently covered by EU nature directives.
The rewards for making the right decisions would also be great: a UK which is a world-leader on the environment with clean air, clear water, a stable climate, healthy seas, beautiful landscapes and townscapes and thriving wildlife in the places we care about most. All this is fundamental to the well-being and prosperity of our own and future generations.
The Westminster Government has a key role in making this happen, so we would like to see all parties commit to:
1. Nature's recovery in a generation. To achieve this will require us to transfer all current EU environmental laws into statute in the UK and ensure they are policed, and in England, to enact an Environment Act that restores the ecology of our rivers, farmland, soils and cities.
2. Protection of our marine wildlife through a well enforced and complete network of marine protected areas in UK seas and sustainable fisheries policies.
3. New sustainable policies for our farmland to allow wildlife to thrive alongside food production. Taxpayer’s money should be invested in creating abundant wildlife, healthy soils, clean water, climate change mitigation and beautiful landscapes for the benefit of everyone.
Over the next few weeks prospective parliamentary candidates and their supporters will be knocking on doors trying to win your vote. This is your chance to find out what they think about the environment and if elected, what actions they will take to ensure a healthy future for the UK. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- What will your party do to ensure our wildlife laws remain strong and that steps are taken to restore the damage we have done to nature? Will you commit to an ambitious new Environment Act?
- What will your party do to ensure that wildlife thrives in our seas once more? Will you make sure that more marine protected areas are designated and policed?
- What will your party do to ensure we have new farming policies in each part of the UK to provide for nature’s recovery? Will you make sure that any payments to farmers are for positive environmental action?
- What will your party do to help deliver the Paris Climate Agreement? Will you make sure that a UK Climate Strategy is produced?
Make sure that your vote is a vote for nature
- Make sure you are registered to vote. If you aren’t sure, sign up here before 22nd May.
- Find out what your prospective parliamentary candidates think about environmental issues
- Share responses with friends and family and encourage them to consider the environment