MPs warn Government that countryside and farming are at risk

Wednesday 4th January 2017

Farmland (c) Zsuzsanna Bird

A new report by a parliamentary committee published today warns Government that environmental protections must not be weakened after Brexit. The Wildlife Trusts respond...

Today the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) publishes a report The Future of Natural Environment After EU Referendum. MPs are warning the Government that environmental protections must not be weakened during the process of leaving the EU or afterwards. The EAC is calling on the Government to introduce a new Environmental Protection Act during Article 50 negotiations to maintain the UK’s strong environmental standards.You can read more about it on the Parliament website here.

Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts responds to the new report, saying:

“This report is good news. It shows that politicians from all parties see the need for positive action for our natural environment as we approach Brexit. 80% of our environmental laws are tied in with the EU so preserving and improving them during and after Brexit is critical. The Wildlife Trusts fully support the proposal for a positive ambitious Act of Parliament. A new Environment Act should set a world standard in environmental legislation and ensure that wildlife recovers in diversity and abundance. It is also essential that every piece of green legislation that can be rescued in the Repeal Act, is rescued.

In the next few years we will be defining the nation in new terms. Helping our wildlife to recover from decades of decline will not happen by accident. Unless we set ourselves goals and provide the legal, financial, and market mechanisms to achieve them we can be sure that wildlife will continue to decline. Given that 70% of our land area is farmed, intelligent financial support and regulation for land management will be critical to this.

As a society we ultimately depend entirely on the natural world - the government must recognise this and reflect this in a during and after the process of leaving the EU.”

The Wildlife Trusts’ written evidence given to the Environmental Audit Committee is here. Stephen Trotter, Director, The Wildlife Trusts England, also gave oral evidence and members of the EAC visited a farm cared for by Surrey Wildlife Trust to find out more about farmland wildlife habitats.