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Chris Packham, celebrities and wildlife CEOs issue rallying cry to UK nature-lovers

19 June 2024

Chris Packham, Dame Judi Dench and Emma Thompson are among the celebrities joining with environment charity CEOs, Extinction Rebellion and over 300 organisations, in urging UK nature-lovers to take to the streets of London on 22 June and demand that politicians Restore Nature Now.

The Restore Nature Now march is anticipated to be the biggest public demonstration in the run-up to the General Election, with over 50,000 people expected to attend. [1] It has the backing of celebrities such as Steve Backshall, Liz Bonnin, Feargal Sharkey and Dr Amir Khan, sustainable businesses, charities and direct-action groups. The family-friendly, peaceful and legal march aims to be an unmissable message to all politicians that nature and climate should be a higher priority in this election and for whoever the next Government is.

The call from celebrities and nature charities comes as new polling for Rewilding Britain reveals that 77% of all voters say that politicians should be doing more to reduce the decline of nature in Britain (including 68% of those who voted Conservative in 2019, 87% of Labour voters and 93% of Lib Dem voters). [2] Recent polling also shows 71% of adults think the environment is not being protected adequately for the next generation.

Dame Judi Dench said:
“Despite being a nation of nature-lovers, the UK’s politicians are failing to protect the wildlife that we love. Pollution in our rivers and ocean, falling wildlife populations, and increased droughts and floods are all symptoms of the decline of our natural world. Nature needs more than sticking plaster solutions, we need our politicians to deliver a cure for nature’s decline. That’s why we should all join together to demand that all political parties Restore Nature Now.”

Actor and writer Emma Thompson said:
"Our politicians have a legal duty and a moral responsibility to ensure the next generation have a future full of thriving nature without the threat of climate disaster hanging over their heads. That’s why it’s time to challenge all political parties to Restore Nature Now - add your voice to the calls on 22 June.”

TV broadcaster and environmental campaigner, Chris Packham, said
: “We’re standing shoulder to shoulder - whether we’re from urban ponds or national nature reserves , from big charities or local direct action groups , we are all lovers of life on planet Earth and we are going to stop asking and start demanding that politicians protect the world we love.

“We’re already expecting over 50,000 people to join us on 22 June. It would be better if we could double that and show all political parties how much we care about our wildlife and the environment . So please bring your friends, your colleagues, your grandparents, your grandchildren. Get to the streets by bus, train, or bike - please just get here. We need to shout above the noise and make a difference . We will make a last stand for nature.”

Nadine Oliver from Extinction Rebellion said:
“Politicians have been failing us for too long. They use tokenistic environmental and climate policies for political point scoring. It is time that comes to an end and the climate and nature crisis is made a priority. The impact of inaction on the crisis is already blatantly obvious: less wildlife, fewer insects, food insecurity, flooding, heatwaves, unpredictable weather, and more to come if we do nothing.

"We know that no matter who wins the next election, nature will lose. It just isn't good enough. We're coming together with 360 organisations this Saturday to demand our politicians listen to the people and Restore Nature Now.”

WWT Chief Executive Sarah Fowler said:
“Our lives are intrinsically linked with nature. It is the foundation of our prosperity and wellbeing, and our resilience to the impacts of climate change. Put simply, we can’t survive without nature. From super powered wetlands like rivers and saltmarsh that offer space to think and breathe, to woodlands and forests that bring wildlife and wellbeing to our doorstep – nature inspires and revives.

“But nature’s voice is being lost in politics, and its needs aren’t being heard. By the government’s own advisers’ admission, a lack of action has left the UK miles off meeting its own nature recovery targets. That’s why we must shout for it at this crucial time. Join us in speaking up for nature on 22 June.”

Rebecca Wrigley, Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain said:
“The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world with just half (53%) of its biodiversity remaining. We need our next government to make radical changes to reverse this decline and commit to nature recovery, including rewilding, for wildlife, people and the planet.The public are clear, they want politicians to be doing more to reverse the decline of nature in Britain, there is simply no time to lose.”

Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said:
“The next UK government will determine whether we achieve vital climate and nature targets by 2030. Failure is not an option, yet time and again these targets – to slash emissions and to restore the wildlife and wild places we hold dear – have been disregarded, delayed or diluted. This joining together of voices will be a powerful reminder that the UK public cares passionately about nature and climate change, and that when we restore nature, nature restores us. "From this election forward, every promise to our people and planet must be kept. We urge all political parties to commit to halt and reverse environmental decline and unlock the economic opportunity of our generation to offer a safer, sustainable future for our country and the world."

Nature campaigners have warned that a major boost in government action, investment, and stronger laws are needed to turn the nature and climate crisis around and meet binding wildlife-recovery targets by 2030. They say that even the strongest General Election manifesto commitments will need to be backed up by investment and rapid delivery plans to succeed.

Nature campaigners and celebrities are urging nature-lovers from across the UK to join them for the Restore Nature Now march (  in London on Saturday 22 June, in what aims to be the biggest ever nature and climate event in the UK. 

The campaigners have issued 5 main challenges to politicians on the action needed for nature:

- A pay rise for nature - the nature and climate-friendly farming budget doubled.

- Make polluters pay - new rules to make polluters contribute to nature and climate recovery

- More space for nature - to expand and improve protected areas, and ensure public land and National Parks contribute more to recovery.

- A right to a healthy environment - an Environmental Rights Bill, which would drive better decisions for nature, improve public health and access to high-quality nature.

- Fair and effective climate action - increasing home energy efficiency, supporting active travel and public transport, and replacing polluting fossil fuels with affordable renewables.


Notes to Editors:

Restore Nature Now is a group of charities, grassroots organisations and individuals concerned about nature, wildlife and climate. The demonstration is being coordinated by organisations which includes: RSPB, WWT, Woodland Trust, Wildlife and Countryside Link, Rewilding Britain, WWF-UK, National Trust, Extinction Rebellion and Chris  Packham. The demonstration is being supported by over 300 wide-ranging groups.

Polling from YouGov Plc on behalf of Rewilding Britain. Total sample size was 2,211 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12-13 June 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Polling from YouGov Plc on behalf of Wildlife and Countryside Link. Total sample size was 2,054 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 16th May 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

UK Nature factfile:

The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, with one in six  native wildlife British species facing extinction 

On average wildlife populations in the UK have declined by almost a fifth (19%) since 1970.

There has been a 58% reduction in farmland birds and declines in 80% of butterfly species in the last 50 years (State of Nature)

70 species of bird are on the red list of conservation concern

A quarter of UK mammal species are at risk of extinction

0% of rivers
 in England and Northern Ireland classed in good overall health

The UK is a long way from meeting targets to protect 30% of the land and sea for nature by 2030. A maximum of 8% of English seas are said to be protected for nature against the most damaging forms of fishing activity. Currently, 8.45% of land in England is covered by protected sites, but only 36.82% of these are in good condition for nature, meaning just 3.11% of England is effectively protected for nature.

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