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‘100,000 voices for nature can’t be ignored’ Charities meet with Green Party co-leader to call for action to stop nature’s collapse at the next election

15 April 2024

  • Environmental groups met with the co-leader of the Green Party Adrian Ramsay at Black Bourn Valley Reserve in Suffolk to deliver their ‘Nature 2030 Open Letter’ signed by 100,000 people across the country.
  • The letter calls on all parties to support five policies that will ensure the UK meets legally binding targets for nature before the 2030 deadline.
  • The UK Government’s own advisors (The Office for Environmental Protection) have warned that these targets are at risk of being missed.

Today (15th April), Adrian Ramsay, the co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, met with Wildlife and Countryside Link, The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and Bat Conservation Trust at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Black Bourne Valley site to receive the Nature 2030 open letter, signed by over 100,000 people demanding politicians take action to halt the decline of nature by 2030.

The campaign, which brought together over 100 nature, climate, access and health organisations from across the UK, including the Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, RSPB and the Woodland Trust and was supported by celebrities including Chris Packham, Megan McCubbin and Steve Backshall, is calling for party leaders to make good on the promise of halting environmental decline by 2030 by showing their support for five policies designed to aid nature’s recovery.

Ahead of the next election, the charities want to see commitments from all parties to a doubling of the funding for nature-friendly farming, the introduction of a nature recovery obligation which will make polluters pay, more space given to nature, more investment in green jobs and the introduction of an Environmental Rights Bill.

These actions are needed to meet looming nature recovery targets, backed by all major parties. In 2022, the UK signed an international deal to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. In England, that promise is underpinned by a legal duty in the Environment Act 2021 to stop the decline of species abundance, and a commitment to protect 30% of the land and sea for nature.

However, with less than a year left of the current parliament and just under six years until the UK must meet its legally binding nature recovery targets, nature in England remains in a perilous state. Attempted regulatory rollbacks and stalled progress on environmental strategies have meant that even the UK Government’s own advisors (The Office for Environmental Protection) are warning that it is off-track in achieving its nature recovery targets.

Last year’s State of Nature report highlighted the scale of the threats facing nature. With 1 in 6 species at risk of extinction and many species including bees and other pollinators, flowering plants like heather and water vole and European eel have experienced significant declines in their numbers in recent years. For the UK’s landscapes and seascapes, the story is much the same, with Wildlife and Countryside Link’s 30x30 Progress Report showing that only 3% of land and 8% of seas were effectively protected and that the condition of the landscape in many protected areas was worse than places which lacked protection.

With the next election on the horizon, no political party has yet set out the ambitious economy-wide action needed to set the UK’s environment on the path to recovery and give nature a future despite the nature and climate crises being key issues for voters.

At today’s hand-in, the Nature 2030 campaigners called on co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay to go further and support the Nature 2030 asks in full.

Joan Edwards, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, The Wildlife Trusts said
, “The upcoming election will be the most important in our lifetime for nature and climate action. The public are calling out for bold plans to restore nature ahead of the next election, but current commitments from political parties have failed to grasp the depth of concern over disappearing wildlife and the impacts of climate change. Politicians and political parties will be judged by the electorate, and by history, on whether their plans can meet the scale of the challenge to halt the decline of nature by the end of the decade.”

Kit Stoner, CEO of Bat Conservation Trust said
, “Without immediate action, the environmental decline we are witnessing will continue. This is why we are joining the call for all political parties to take immediate action to make sure nature recovery targets are met. Committing to the asks of the Nature 2030 campaign will help create a sustainable economy which benefits both the species that make up our natural heritage and the health and wellbeing of people.”

Richard Benwell CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link said
, “With over 100,000 voices demanding action for the environment at this election, now is the time for party leaders to match the public’s desire to restore nature.

“The time for piecemeal nature policy and empty environment promises is over. Without nature we have no future. Parties must demonstrate that they are committed to making polluters pay, delivering green jobs, ensuring nature-friendly farmers get the funding they need, and protecting our most iconic wildlife and places.'

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Nature 2030 campaign was launched in July 2023. The Nature 2030 policies and full report can be found here.
  2. Details of the 100+ supporters of the Nature 2030 campaign can be found here.
  3. The total number of signatories to the Nature 2030 open letter was 100,154. Respondents to the petition supported one or more of the five nature 2030 policies.
  4. The Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Green Party were formally represented at the launch of the Nature 2030 campaign in July 2023 and have all been invited to receive the Nature 2030 Open Letter. The Liberal Democrats are due to receive the open letter on 8th May.
  5. The event was attended by the following eNGO representatives Christine Luxton (CEO, Suffolk Wildlife Trusts), Ben McFarland (Director of Nature Conservation and Recovery, Suffolk Wildlife Trusts), Elliot Chapman Jones (Head of Advocacy, The Wildlife Trusts) Richard Benwell (CEO, Wildlife & Countryside Link), Kit Stoner (CEO, Bat Conservation Trust), Alice Groom (Head of Sustainable Land Policy, RSPB). Photo of hand in below. 
  6. Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Black Bourn Valley Reserve is a 290-acre site. Managed by the Trust since 1995, the former arable farm uses natural regeneration methods and conservation grazing management to demonstrate how land managers can balance competing demands on land use and natural resources whilst bringing back nature. Interventions have included the restoration of land drains to create marshy wetlands, helping to reduce the impacts of flooding on surrounding areas, allowing plants to recolonise and create patches of scrub for species to call home and the removal of harmful chemicals from the river.
  7. The full State of Nature report can be found here. The report found that:
    1. 1 in 16 species assessed in Great Britain were at risk of extinction.
    2. Since the 2019 State of Nature report, the number of taxa assessed using the IUCN Regional Red List had increased from 8,431 to 10,008 (18.7%).

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