From time to time The Wildlife Trusts produce briefings and papers on issues affecting UK wildlife and nature conservation. You can find a selection of our most recent briefings below - just click on each heading to download a pdf:
The Green Standard (September 2013)
The Wildlife Trusts are one of seven leading charities, including WWF, RSPB, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to assess the green performance of coalition ministers and Labour shadow ministers since the last general election. They review the parties on four key areas: the economy, communities, nature and international leadership
The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that the Lobbying Bill has the potential to have a detrimental impact on the work of individual Wildlife Trusts and also their collective body, the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT). Although we understand it is not the intent of the Bill to restrict charities engaging in public policy debate, we are concerned that this will be the effect of the Bill as currently drafted.
The Wildlife Trusts believe that it is insufficient simply to prevent the further decline in the quantity and quality of existing habitats, species and natural places. We must enable nature to recover and create Living Landscapes and secure Living Seas. Increasing population is only one contributor to our increasing impact on the natural environment, but the presence of more people will inevitably make nature’s recovery more difficult. This position statement examines the impact of population, resource use and consumption, and how this will affect the recovery of our natural environment.
Food production in Europe is dependent on a healthy natural environment with pollinating insects, clean water and good soils. Maintaining and improving natural ecosystems, as the basis of a sustainable farming system, should therefore be the overriding objective of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2014-2020.
With its new powers on CAP, the European Parliament has an historic opportunity to reform the CAP and ensure that land managers are rewarded for the delivery of environmental public goods.
The Wildlife Trusts have a vision for the future of the UK’s seas where marine wildlife thrives from the depths of the ocean to the coastal shallows. Reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is an opportunity to help achieve our Living Seas vision and reduce the adverse impacts of fisheries on species, habitats and ecosystems and ensure we have sustainably managed fisheries for the future.
In December 2012 the Government will launch a three month public consultation on the designation of the recommended network of 127 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English and offshore Welsh waters. It will include the Government’s preferred option for each recommended MCZ; whether they are proposed for
designation in 2013, are candidates for future tranches, or will not be pursued any further. The Government had pledged to designate an ecologically coherent network of MCZs by the end of 2012. However, in November 2011 it was announced that the designation process would be delayed in order to allow more data about the sites to be collected.
The Wildlife Trusts are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. Our involvement with this issue over a long period has led us to conclude that a sustained programme of vaccination, alongside improved bio-security measures, improved testing and controls on cattle movement would be the best means of tackling bTB. We urge the Government to halt the imminent pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to develop a strategy for the deployment of the currently available BadgerBCG vaccine, and for a potential cattle vaccine when available, as part of its plans to combat bovine TB (bTB).
The Wildlife Trusts are calling for an outright ban on the use of all neonicotinoid insecticides. There is a growing body of evidence to show that neonicotinoids have a detrimental effect at sub-lethal doses on pollinators; and that the knock-on effect of neonicotinoids on other species and the wider environment is potentially severe. For these reasons, The Wildlife Trusts believe that the continued use of neonicotinoids in the UK represents an unacceptable risk to pollinator populations and ecosystem health. We urge the Government to retract its opposition to the EU ban, recognise the scale of the risks posed by the continued use of neonicotinoids and place a permanent moratorium on the use of all neonicotinoid insecticides.
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the Government’s decision to retain ownership of the Public Forest Estate (PFE). But vitally, it should change the Forestry Commission’s remit to ensure it gives nature; people’s enjoyment of woodlands; and the sustainable woodland management a higher priority.
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the improvements made to the National Planning Policy Framework, they show the Government has accepted the importance of planning positively for the natural environment and recognised Nature Improvement Areas (NIAS ) and locally designated sites, including Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs).
The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that delays to the designation of the planned network of Marine Conservation Zones will mean the network fails to meet its targets and will hamper the recovery of vulnerable ecosystems.
The Wildlife Trusts believe that a sustainable economy must be underpinned by the protection and restoration of our natural environment, on land and at sea. Enforcement of key legislation, including the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, is essential to enable the natural environment to continue to provide us with ecosystem services vital to our health, wellbeing and economy.
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the Government’s first tentative steps toward the restoration of the natural environment through the pilot of Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs), but believe more commitment is needed to take the concept forward.
Please note that these documents reflect The Wildlife Trusts views at the time of writing.