Category Archives: Natural environment

Why the chancellor’s response to the Dasgupta Review must create real action

This post is by Paul Morling, principal economist at the RSPB.

In commissioning the Dasgupta Review in 2019 the Treasury demonstrated a clear recognition that solving the nature crisis is vital for the functioning of our economy at large. To speak in economic terms, nature is a macroeconomic consideration and the review itself concludes that addressing the crisis is foundational to sustainable economic prosperity. In short, if we don’t tackle the nature crisis, our real economy and our quality of life is going to suffer.  

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How can we protect 30 per cent of land for nature by 2030 without proper monitoring?

This post is by Isobel Mercer, RSPB’s senior policy officer, policy & advocacy Scotland.

Our most important habitats for wildlife are found in Protected Areas. These special places, such as the carbon-rich peatlands of the Flow Country, the noisy seabird cliffs at Flamborough Head, the shores of Strangford Lough, which is home to some 70,000 wintering birds, and the ancient Celtic Rainforests of West Wales, are responsible for safeguarding nature across the UK.

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Net zero: an update from the environment, food and rural affairs committee

Green Alliance is tracking the UK’s net zero policy progress in key areas of government throughout this year. This week we are featuring a series of daily blogs in which we hear from the chairs of five parliamentary select committees, who answer our questions about the progress being made in their committee’s area of interest. This post is by Neil Parish MP, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

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The new 2030 species target is a watershed moment for wildlife

This government is not short of environmental aspiration. It wants to have the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth and has cast its sights beyond immediate horizons, promising to leave the environment in a better state for future generations. However noble, long term goals need legal anchors and decisive delivery to keep them on course.

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We need to bring back beavers to help meet our environmental goals

This post is by Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet and parliamentary species champion for beavers.

Native to Britain, beavers once created and maintained a rich network of wildlife-rich habitats across these isles. They are both a keystone of ecosystems and a cornerstone of our natural heritage. Hunted to extinction 400 years ago, evidence from beaver reintroductions in recent years has been conclusive: the benefits significantly outweigh the limited and manageable costs. The government’s forthcoming strategy for managing wild beavers must enable this historic species to repopulate suitable areas and once again engineer life into the English countryside.

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Knepp’s planning dilemma reflects the national battle for nature

This post is by Isabella Tree: conservationist, co-Founder of Knepp Rewilding Project and author of the bestseller Wilding.

Last month the world’s first ever Rewilding Day was celebrated. But, instead of celebration at our rewilding project at Knepp in West Sussex, it was an exhausting day of activity as we launched our campaign against a proposed new development of 3,500 houses at Buck Barn. These would sever a wildlife corridor linking Knepp with St Leonard’s Forest and beyond.

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It’s time to link food, nature and climate policy

This post is by Jessica Sinclair-Taylor, head of policy and media at Feedback.

A recent letter, organised by Nourish Scotland and signed by a number of organisations (including Feedback) and city governments, has asked COP26 President Alok Sharma to clear some space for food system debates on the agenda at the Glasgow climate summit this year. As the letter points out, the intimate links between nature, cutting and storing carbon, and food production, are not receiving the attention they deserve.

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Government impoverishment of the environmental principles should worry us all

This post is by Professor Maria Lee, co-director of the Centre for Law and the Environment at UCL.

Defra’s Draft environmental principles policy statement has finally been published for consultation. This statement is a crucial part of the move from EU law and policy, to the domestic regime set out for England by the Environment Bill. This move  involves shifting from a system in which the environmental principles were systemic and legally binding, to one in which they will be creatures of government policy not law, considered only in ministerial policy making rather than across the board, and subject to deep carve outs.

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Why a green recovery needs a blue recovery at its heart

This post is by Tom Fewins, head of policy & advocacy at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

Here’s a question for you: what does ‘Ramsar’ stand for?

While some may see it as shorthand for the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, it is actually named after a place. The Iranian city of Ramsar sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea, where this multilateral agreement was first signed; this year the Ramsar Convention marks its 50th anniversary.

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Where is the England Peat Strategy?

This post is by Jenny Hawley, policy manager at Plantlife, Paul De Zylva, senior nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, Ali Morse, water policy manager at The Wildlife Trusts and Chris Corrigan, policy coordinator at Butterfly Conservation. This article was originally posted on the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s blog.

Patience is a virtue. Carbon has been accumulating in the UK’s peatlands for at least 10,000 years. It now equates to just around 30 years’ worth of the UK’s annual emissions. But many peatlands now serve the opposite function: due to continuing damage and degradation they are pumping this carbon back into the atmosphere.

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