Act for Nature: Calls for new law to support recovery of nature and improve people's wellbeing

Friday 31st October 2014

Rowley Hills FlowersNew law needed to support nature

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country are joining with other charities in challenging political parties to ‘act for nature’ with laws to restore nature and increase everyone’s access to it.

The Trust, with a strong track record in protecting the local environment over more than 30 years, are asking politicians to recognise that this is not just for nature’s sake but for the numerous benefits access to natural and green spaces bring to people’s health and wellbeing. The ‘Nature and Wellbeing Act’ Green Paper – published this week – sets out compelling evidence which shows just how much people need nature. It offers an ambitious package of measures to turn around the decline in our natural environment and contribute to many of our most pressing social and political objectives.

The two lead partners, Wildlife Trusts and RSPB, warn that the health of our economy and communities, education and our own wellbeing are inextricably linked to the health of the natural world and our quality of life will fail if society doesn’t take action for nature, now.

The charities have joined forces to launch a campaign called Act for Nature, working together as part of a growing movement of people and organisations who wish to see the natural environment recognised for its true value and contribution to our lives.

The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB - which together have more than two million members who work to protect nature – are calling for cross-party agreement on the need for nature and press all parties to include legislation for nature and wellbeing in their manifestos ahead of the General Election in May.

The General Election means political parties are now painting their visions for a brighter future, providing an opportunity for people to ask politicians to recognise how nature is intrinsically at the heart of better places to live in towns and cities as well as across rural landscapes. Ensuring nature thrives and plays a part in all of our lives means decisions must not be based on short-term expediency.

Inactivity and obesity are escalating; poor mental health is having a significant impact on wellbeing; climate change is already affecting our urban areas and the productivity of our countryside; many of our villages, towns and cities face growing risk of flooding; and our economy continues to use much of the natural world in an unsustainable way, which is likely to be a brake on progress and development in the future.

The Green Paper shows our need for nature in every part of our lives:

• The most deprived communities are 10 times less likely to live in the greenest areas.
• Fewer than one in 10 children regularly play in wild places, compared to almost half, a generation ago.
• If every household in England were provided with good access to quality green space it could save an estimated £2.1 billion in health care costs.
A new Nature and Wellbeing Act should herald a wider long-term commitment by government to take consistent account of nature and the wider environment across all policy-making and legislation.

Steve Trotter, The Wildlife Trusts’ Director, England, said: "The green paper provides powerful and irresistible arguments for why we need urgent change. If we look after the natural environment, it will look after us and it can help solve some of society's most expensive problems. We need new and visionary legislation to underpin the needs of 21st century society in building a better relationship with nature - for people and wildlife. It’s vital that we have a joined-up and scaled-up approach for the recovery of wildlife and wild places - and to bring nature into everyone's everyday lives." 

Georgia Stokes, new Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country added: “It is vitally important all political parties recognise the value of our natural environment. The support we have had from local communities for the work we are already doing to improve and restore natural spaces across Birmingham and the Black Country shows just how needed such action is. I sincerely hope that all the parties will now recognise this is not something that is just ‘nice to have’; looking after the natural environment is crucial to improving the lives of everyone.


“We will be contacting all our members and supporters and asking them to ensure that this message is delivered loud and clear.”
 

The e-action for everyone to call on their MP to Act for Nature is now live on the Wildlife Trusts website. The briefing and the green paper are available to download below.

Downloads

FilenameFile size
nature_and_wellbeing_act_final.pdf4.13 MB
nature_and_wellbeing_bill_summary_final.pdf1.43 MB
nature_wellbeing_act_media_release.pdf179.42 KB

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Nature, Wellbeing, Wildlife trusts

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