We already have lots of goals for nature but they’re fragmented and weak. That’s why we’re years behind our targets for species recovery, air quality and cleaner water, and why Britain is now ranked as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.
But it's not too late. A new Environment Act is in the making and we now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that nature's recovery is at the heart of public policy and law across Britain.
If the new Environment Act is strong and ambitious, it will push us beyond the status quo so that we are not only protecting the wildlife we have left but also taking bold steps to create the space it needs to recover.
Campaigning for a new Environment Act
As part of the Greener UK Coalition, we are urging the government to enact a new and ambitious Environment Act that ensures regulation, investment, public spending and practical action work effectively together. We want to see future governments committed to restoring the diversity and abundance of our wildlife, rebuilding society's connection to the natural world, and improving the health of our air, soils, rivers and seas.
If this is going to happen, a new Environment Act will need to include three key elements:
- Ambitious nature targets – legally binding targets for nature's recovery that politicians must ultimately achieve and regularly report on progress towards
- A Nature Recovery Network - a joined-up network of habitats that provide enough space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive
- A nature watchdog - an independent body to monitor, review and report on progress; to oversee compliance with the law; and to challenge any bad decisions made by the Government and public bodies
A new Environment Act will help wildlife in Sussex by:
- Creating a resilient landscape better prepared for a changing climate
- Improving people’s access to nature, especially in towns and cities
- Creating new wild areas and wildlife corridors across the county
- Keeping our existing wildlife sites safe from harm, both on land and at sea
- Stopping our soils washing away into rivers and the sea
- Improving air quality
- Stopping the pollution of our rivers and streams
- Reducing emissions that are contributing to climate change
- Protecting people’s rights to a healthy natural environment
- Avoiding the loss of environmental protection laws after Brexit
The first part of a draft Environment Bill was published in December 2018 but it left a lot to be desired.
- It included environmental principles but did not make them binding
- It included an Office for Environmental Protection but gave it insufficient powers to adequately hold the government to account and protect our environment
- It completely left out Nature Recovery Networks
Royal Assent for the new Environment Bill is anticipated in the autumn of 2019. Between now and the summer of 2019, we have a window of opportunity to build a groundswell of support for nature’s recovery from people across the country.
What can I do to help?
We’re talking to every MP in Sussex to call for a strong and ambitious new Environment Act, and we need to make sure the government hears our message loud and clear: people care about wildlife and the environment.
Please meet with or write to your MP to let them know how important wildlife and the environment are to you:
We've put together a guide to help you: Handy tips meeting your MP