Richard has worked in the Westminster parliament as a researcher in the House of Lords and as a Senior Clerk for the Energy and Climate Change Committee. He is now Head of Government Affairs at WWT after spending a couple of years as a Parliamentary Officer at the RSPB.
He wrote a previous guest blog Make Great Britain Green Again in January this year.
Don’t let nature fall silent – it’s #TimeToBeHeard
The House of Commons is sometimes called the Green Benches.
Sometimes it feels like that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are set-piece debates on budgets and growth, but little time is dedicated to our natural resources. Every day in Parliament, nature’s needs are drowned out by louder, richer voices—calls to slash environmental red tape for the sake of economic development, or to licence new chemicals or processes to steal a march on corporate competitors.
The environmental jeopardy of pollution, development, invasive species and unsustainable development can be multiplied by poor political decision-making. Now, with so much political turmoil embroiling our Parliament, and so much open to change, the chances of nature being drowned out are greater than ever—and the consequence could be that some of our precious species fall silent forever.
But the Government has promised a 25 Year Environment Plan to turn things around and that gives us the opportunity to steer political decisions along a greener path.
There have been hiccups: the referenda, negotiations, and elections have all delayed the plan. What would have been a plan for 2045 is now looking more like a plan to take us to 2048. Yet Mr Gove has given the manifesto promise of a plan new life, setting out a good stall on farming reform, and lending new political heft to DEFRA’s claims on Cabinet time and resources.
At WWT, we’re launching a new campaign to challenge the Government to deliver the action needed to make its 25 year ambition a success.
We’re calling for a new Environment Act, with legally-binding targets for nature. We want new investment in sustainable farming and green infrastructure. We propose new institutions—an Environment Commission and an Office for Environmental Responsibility—to make the UK a world-leader in environmental governance.
Our movement is used to fighting a battle of attrition, holding on to dwindling pockets of wildness, and staving off regular threats to the laws that defend nature. We must keep up the fight.
But today, we’re campaigning for better—the law, investment and institutions that can actually turn round the state of nature. To succeed, we need to show the Government that amid all this political clamour, it would be folly to forget that we all depend on nature, and wise to remember that a thriving natural environment is the foundation for a sustainable economy and a healthier society.
Let’s not let environmental interests be drowned out in Parliament. Let’s not let nature fall silent. Please campaign with us today for a 25 Year Environment Plan to create an environment for success—nature’s way. And let’s make sure that the Green Benches live up to their name. It’s #TimeToBeHeard.