Minister's Journey to Centre of the Earth

Wednesday 16th November 2016

Robin Walker MP discusses the challenges and opportunities of urban nature conseRobin Walker MP discusses the challenges and opportunities of urban nature conservation with The Wildlife Trust

Green leaders welcomed the opportunity to discuss the potential opportunities and challenges presented by the UK leaving the European Union with DEXEU Minister in Birmingham.

Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Exiting the EU met with a range of organisations working to protect and improve the natural environment across Birmingham, the Black Country and into Warwickshire. The group visited The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country’s site, Centre of the Earth in Winson Green, to discuss how vital it is that everyone living in cities is guaranteed access to good quality green space for their health and wellbeing.

Georgia Stokes, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country and Chair of the Birmingham and Black Country Local Nature Partnership said: “Everyone needs nature whether we live in cities or rural areas. We need to rethink the way our green spaces are funded to make sure they are protected, improved and managed for future generations to enjoy. We were encouraged by Mr Walker’s comments about government thinking explaining how policy will continue to protect the natural environment and that there is now opportunity to look at new ways to protect and fund the vital green lungs of our cities and towns.

“The Minister’s approach to community consultation and recognition of the huge amount of work happening in our area is to be welcomed. We have invited Mr Walker back to continue discussions and look forward to working with him and other government ministers to achieve the best result for the natural environment.”

Nick Grayson, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Birmingham added: “We encourage the government to take the opportunity Brexit brings- to build an environmental system that delivers the stated outcomes from the Natural Environment White Paper and the Natural Capital Committee. The future must be that these environmental outcomes are 'owned' across government (at all levels) and across society. They must be centre stage of the growth agenda. The economic target cannot be 'more' with the least damage to the environment (and society). It must be 'more which enhances and restores the environment (and society)’.”

Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Exiting the EU: “The UK has always been a country that places an enormous value on our environment and that has not changed as we approach our negotiations to leave the EU. The government is committed to improving and conserving our precious natural environment.

“For that reason we are engaging with organisations working to protect British wildlife and green spaces to ensure we capitalise on their expertise for the opportunities ahead. I was really impressed by the work going on in Greater Birmingham and the Black Country to re-green and regenerate elements of the urban environment." 

Organisations attending the event included: The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, The Birmingham and Black Country Local Nature Partnership, The Canal and Rivers Trust, The Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Nature Partnership, The Black Country Consortium, Birmingham City Council, The University of Birmingham, Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, University of Wolverhampton, Severn Trent Water. 

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Birmingham, Brexit, Centre of the Earth, DEXEU, Environment, Green infrastructure, Minister, Nature, Robin Walker