The National Trust, RSPB, Devon Wildlife Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust, who between them have over 1 million members in the South West, are calling for prospective general election candidates to help give wildlife a safer future and put the natural world at the forefront of their campaign.
Thriving wildlife, healthy seas, clean air, unpolluted water and access to wild places are fundamental to the well-being of the South West, its residents and businesses.
In an open letter, the four organisations are asking all election candidates to tell voters how much nature means to them. The letter also asks candidates to outline their commitments to protecting and restoring wildlife in the South West.
They believe this election is crucial to how their shared ambitions for nature in the South West are delivered in the future. In our lifetime, nearly 56% of UK species have declined and 15% are at risk of extinction. The four organisations believe that with the right support and policies, this can be turned around and nature can thrive again in the South West.
The letter asks four open questions to anyone standing for election in June.
- What will you do to ensure our wildlife is protected and restored after Brexit?
- What will you do to ensure that wildlife thrives in our seas once more?
- What will you do to ensure we have new farming policies that support nature’s recovery?
- What will you do to make sure we move to a low carbon economy?
The four charities are asking candidates to make clear their ambitions for the environment and say what they will do to help nature if they are elected.
Mark Harold, Regional Director of the National Trust said; “The South West’s fantastic coast and countryside underpins our tourism economy and brings millions of people to the region each year. As we leave the EU, we need to restore and enhance our natural environment in a way that’s great for wildlife, great for people and great for the economy. We would like candidates to show how they will step up to this challenge, and stand up for nature in the South West.”
Harry Barton, Chief Executive, Devon Wildlife Trust said; “This General Election is the best chance to change the fortunes of wildlife for the better in over 40 years. Just imagine – we could see whales and dolphins back in our seas, salmon in our rivers and hear cuckoos calling across our countryside. It’s up to all of us to tell our political candidates that we believe this matters, and that we will hold them to their promises.”
Nick Bruce-White, RSPB Regional Director said; “The 2016 State of Nature Report clearly laid out the challenges that nature faces in the UK. The next government will have many choices to make, but none will be more fundamental than the policies it puts in place to restore wildlife. Especially here in the south west, a region that trades so heavily on the quality of its natural environment.”
Candidates are being asked to share their plans on their websites and tweet them use the hashtag #GreenerSW
We’ve invited candidates to publish their responses on their websites and share using #GreenerSW. A copy of our open letter can be found here