Author Tony Whitbread
Wildlife and natural processes do not recognise administrative boundaries and today European environmental legislation has become the core framework in most areas of environmental policy in the UK.
The 73 Members of the European Parliament that we elect tomorrow will have significant influence over a range of important EU policy decisions. During the next term of the European Parliament, EU environmental legislation such as the Habitats Directive will be reviewed, new international climate and environmental targets will have to be negotiated and recently agreed reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be implemented.
Pro or anti European arguments rarely seem to recognise the international nature of the environment, and rarely come up with alternative strategies for delivering nature conservation in the absence of the European context. Indeed, more worryingly, arguments seem to focus more on removing commitments to nature rather than proposing alternative ways of improving them. This race to the bottom seems linked to a mistaken belief that it is something to do with removing blocks on so-called economic growth. This is all the more incredible against the good work being done all over the world to show how fundamentally important investing in nature is to the economy (as well as to our very existence).
The Wildlife Trusts’ are therefore asking UK MEP’s to:
• Put environmental sustainability at the heart of the post-2015 global development framework
• Ensure that the mid-term review of the EU's 2020 Biodiversity Strategy leads to a step change in implementation
• Ensure that Member States are on course to end overfishing and achieve sustainable fish stocks by 2020
• Seize opportunities to enhance environmental outcomes from the CAP during implementation and review of the new programme
• Develop a coherent climate change adaptation strategy using ecosystem based approaches wherever possible
• Ensure the Marine Strategy Framework Directive is fully implemented
• Champion a significant increase in funding for the highly successful LIFE Programme in order to improve financing of Natura 2000
Make sure that your vote is a vote for nature by considering how each of the parties will manage environmental issues. You can hear the responses from the panel of MEP’s that the Wildlife Trust’s quizzed last month here