What now for wildlife?

Friday 8th July 2016

With the EU referendum now over, the challenges faced by the UK’s wildlife remain as great as they have ever been.

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country would like to see the referendum’s conclusion as a stepping stone to a brighter future for our natural environment and by extension, the people of the UK.

The health of our natural environment is inextricably entwined with the wellbeing of the nation. One thing has remained constant: we must ensure the long-term recovery of the natural environment that so many people in the UK care so deeply about. In urban areas like ours, the natural environment plays a key role in the health and wellbeing of each and every one of us. Indeed, delivering a positive outcome for the natural environment in towns and cities, as well as in the countryside, helps address inequality and could help unite the country as we chart a course forward.

Two immediate priorities for England are proper investment in positive planning for nature’s recovery through a bold and visionary 25-year plan for biodiversity and the delivery of an ambitious third tranche of marine conservation zones. This plan needs to reflect the huge value to our nation’s wellbeing that wildlife-rich places play - especially when they are close to where we live.

Longer term, there is much that the Government will need to do ensure that domestic policies and laws keep pace with the EU – indeed take a lead. Wildlife must have at least the same level of protection as provided by the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Fisheries policy must ensure a sustainable future for the marine environment and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. This will include maintaining hard-won measures such as Maximum Sustainable Yield targets and bans on discards. In terms of farming, there is now an opportunity to direct subsidies into forward looking environmentally sustainable farming methods which allow for the conservation of soil, the retention and purification of water and for abundant wildlife.

All of this work can and must be done in partnership. Please help us, your local Wildlife Trust, to build a more progressive future for the people and wildlife of this area.