THE RSPB is calling on people across the UK to help sound the alarm to protect the wildlife they love. The call comes in response to what the RSPB calls “an unprecedented attack on nature and the laws that protect it by the UK Government.”
The RSPB says that the Government is intent on amending or scrapping crucial environmental laws, including the Habitats Regulations, which protect some of the most vulnerable wildlife and green places across England. Similar regulations that ensure clean water, beaches and rivers are also under threat according to the charity.
This was followed by further plans announced last week to create at least 38 ‘Investment Zones’ which could trash planning rules – meaning housing and commercial developments could be incentivised to damage nature with little or no restriction.
Over the weekend, rumours circulated that the UK Government was also set to scrap a vital proposed scheme that would have supported farmers and landowners to enhance nature, create space for rare species and habitats, and use their land to absorb carbon and work towards net zero. These schemes would be fundamental to achieving long-term food security as well as a healthy natural environment.
Now the RSPB is appealing to people across the UK, including its membership of more than one million people, to urgently contact their MPs to tell them how they feel.
The RSPB has angrily voiced its concerns on Twitter, leading to an outpouring of support from the public, celebrities and other environmental organisations.
Jeff Knott, the RSPB’s director of policy and advocacy, said: “One of these three government actions alone would be a disaster – taken together, in such quick succession, with no debate or scrutiny, amounts to one of the most brazen attacks on nature we have ever seen.
“The impact will be far-reaching, mountain to coast. It will affect habitats and species. Nowhere will be safe. We knew this new Government was likely to make nature a low priority, but the scale and pace of these announcements is truly shocking.
“We are angry, yet we are immensely grateful for the support we have received on this, and we will continue fighting for the best outcome for nature.
“Now we are readying ourselves to fight the biggest attack on nature in a generation and are calling on our partners, supporters, and people who love their local wildlife, to help by contacting their MPs and making themselves heard.”
The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries on the planet. Its remaining wildlife is already struggling – with more than 40 per cent of species in decline. Globally, the UK is about to commit to 30 per cent of the world being looked after for nature by 2030. Reaching that commitment would be made impossible by the announcements of recent days, according to the RSPB.
Mr Knott added: “These Government proposals will rip up the laws that have for decades provided basic protection for our best wildlife sites, along with other laws protecting our air, rivers, wildlife and food standards.
“The shocking proposal to liberalise planning rules and ‘release land’ in the newly announced investment zones are also of huge concern to us. It would appear that these zones would allow developers to build carte blanche on some of our last remaining wildlife sites. To us they look less like investment zones and more likes destruction zones.”
“The economy, our food security and our own health and well-being are wholly reliant on a healthy environment. That’s been the conclusion every time Government has looked at environmental protections over decades, so we’re furious that just when we need to push on with a decade of action, Government instead seems to be launching an all out attack on nature.
“Nature is already in trouble, and we all depend on a healthy environment; taken together, these announcements, combined with the rumoured watering down of the new land management schemes for farming, could be the final nail in its coffin.
“We are in a nature and climate emergency. Anyone who cares about nature needs to speak to their MP urgently to stop the government rushing this through with no scrutiny.”
* More information on how to take action here.