I recently met with Ian from the Wildlife Trust to discuss the Government’s draft Environment Bill. Like Ian, I’m concerned that the Bill fails to adequately protect the natural environment and its wildlife.
The Wildlife Trust is calling on the Government to bring in new legislation that would create Nature Recovery Networks across the country. These networks would create physical connections between areas that would allow plants, animals, seeds, nutrients and water to move from place to place. For example, building green bridges across motorways and allowing meadows to grow will help plants and animals to live, feed and breed.
I support these proposals, which are necessary to tackle the crisis facing wildlife in the UK. Recently, scientists have warned that plummeting insect numbers around the world may lead to the “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”. Alarmingly, the number of widespread butterfly species on English farm land fell by 58% between 2000 and 2009.
These findings should be a wake-up call for the Government but, if their draft Environment Bill is anything to go by, the Tories lack the political will and imagination to properly safeguard our country’s wildlife.
In contrast, Labour understands that investing in our environment is investing in our future. In Government we’ll safeguard habitats and species in ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island. To promote biodiversity, we’ll plant a million native trees and ban harmful insecticides. Unlike the Tories, who attempted to privatise our forests, Labour has committed to keeping them in public hands.
We all depend on the natural world and it’s incumbent on the Government to protect it.