Local MPs sign pledge for the environment

Thursday 8th December 2016

Amy Lewis

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country is delighted that five MPs from our region have signed a new ‘pledge for the environment’.

This pledge is being promoted by Greener UK - a new coalition of 13 major environmental organisations including The Wildlife Trusts - which is being launched today (Thursday December 8).

Greener UK have united to ensure that the UK uses the pivotal moment presented by the forthcoming Brexit negotiations to restore and enhance the UK’s environment.

Local MPs who have already signed Greener UK’s pledge for the environment include: Richard Burden MP, Birmingham, Northfield; Roger Godsiff MP, Birmingham, Hall Green; Andrew Mitchell MP, Sutton Coldfield; Mike Wood MP, Dudley South; and Valerie Vaz MP, Walsall South.

Richard Burden MP said: “I signed the pledge because I want the Government to stand up for the UK’s nature, and I hope my colleagues across parliament will join me. In the wake of the referendum, it’s vital for us to reassert the importance of a clean, green and healthy environment – whether that is in Birmingham Northfield, across the UK or overseas. The UK can and should be a world leader in dealing with environmental issues.”

Nationally, 145 MPs from across the political parties have signed up to the Greener UK coalition’s pledge for the environment. In the pledge, the MPs commit to do everything in their power to:
• establish the UK as a world leader on the environment by matching or exceeding current environmental, wildlife and habitat protections;
• ensure that the UK leads on climate action; and
• create a countryside richer in nature by supporting farmers and landowners to deliver environmental benefits alongside a thriving farming sector.

Georgia Stokes, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, said: “Following the vote to leave the EU, the UK should seize the moment to set the highest environmental standards in the world and ramp up efforts to promote nature’s recovery. This includes making sure that special places like the Fens Pools in Dudley and the Cannock Extension Canal in Walsall continue to benefit from at least as strong protections as they currently enjoy. By signing the pledge for the environment, these MPs have shown that they understand that a healthy environment is critical to a successful future for the wildlife and people of Birmingham, the Black Country, and for our nation.”

Nationally, Greener UK states that leaving the EU presents significant challenges but also important opportunities for our environment. It calls on the Prime Minister to state her commitment to using the forthcoming Brexit negotiations to restore the UK’s environment and maintain its protections, many of which have been developed in the EU. They have welcomed the Government’s environmental ambitions but have also expressed concern that the UK’s natural environment is struggling, with over half of species declining, temperatures rising and our air quality leading to poor health.

And the public seems to support these concerns - a recent YouGov poll revealed that 4 in 5 British adults think Britain should have the same (38%) or stronger (42%) environmental protection after it leaves the European Union. At the same time, around 2 in 3 Brits think that the environment will either stay the same (40%), or worsen (27%) when we leave the EU.

If you want to play your part in urging the Government to protect our precious environment, then urge your MP to sign the pledge by visiting: www.wildlifetrusts.org/Greener-UK/Pledge. 

Further information

1/ Greener UK is a coalition of the following organisations: Campaign for Better Transport, ClientEarth, CPRE, E3G, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, IEEP, National Trust, RSPB, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust and WWF.

2/ The Green Alliance Pledge for the Environment, as well as signatories, can be found at: http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/pledge_for_the_environment.php. 

3/ All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,578 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th - 30th November 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

4/ For more information about Greener UK please http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/GreenerUK.

5/ WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016 indicates that by 2020 global vertebrate populations could have declined by 67% since 1970. The State of Nature Report shows a loss of UK biodiversity, with 15% of our native species under threat of extinction, and 53% in decline.