This post is by Carol Day, legal consultant to the RSPB and public interest law firm Leigh Day and Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth.
On Monday, the Judicial Review and Courts Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons. Coincidentally, Monday is also when the seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention opens. This UN convention, to which the UK is party, seeks to ensure that civil society has rights pivotal to the effective functioning of democracy, including access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters.
This post is by Kate Jennings, head of sites and species policy at the RSPB.
A new peer reviewed paper, published today, looking at the state of protected areas across the UK concludes that, instead of the 28 per cent claimed by the UK government, as little as 11.9 per cent of the UK’s land area is protected for nature, and that less than half of that may be effectively protected for nature. In 2022, governments from around the world will come together to commit to a new set of global targets for nature under the Convention on Biological Diversity. True to its stated appetite to be a “world leader for nature” the UK has already committed to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity and to protect 30 per cent of land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030 (‘30 by 30’), a target that is set to feature in the new global agreement.
This post is by Emma Marsh, director of RSPB England.
We are in a nature and climate emergency. Nature is in freefall and desperately needs new and stronger mechanisms to halt and reverse its decline. For too long, new housing and infrastructure development has been one of the causes of nature’s decline. The RSPB has welcomed the government’s ambition that all new development should leave nature in a better state, because it’s vital that it does.
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.
This post is by Tom Lancaster, head of land, seas and climate at the RSPB; Ellie Brodie, senior policy manager at The Wildlife Trusts; and Marcus Gilleard, senior policy programme manager at the National Trust.
At a time when many in farming communities will be experiencing acute anxiety about what the future holds, the National Trust, RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts have today published a new report looking at how to achieve a more profitable, resilient business model for hill farming, alongside a thriving natural environment. Read more
This post is by Tom Lancaster, acting head of land use policy at the RSPB.
The world of flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) is complex, and at times niche. But it is something that affects the lives of millions, and will become an increasingly pressing priority as the impacts of climate change get worse.
We all have a stake in the decisions to protect communities, businesses and nature from floods, whilst making the best use of the nation’s resources. They should be debated openly, both locally and nationally. Above all, managing flood risk should take place within a long term strategic framework, rigorously assessed to ensure maximum bang for our FCERM buck. Read more
This post is by Alistair Taylor, senior policy officer at the RSPB.
You could have been forgiven for failing to notice that, on 5 April this year, a set of reports were published by the European Commission on how European Countries are performing on their environmental policies and laws. The Environment Implementation Review (EIR) reports are available for each of the 28 member states of the EU (currently including the UK). Read more
This post is by Donal McCarthy, senior policy officer at the RSPB and co-ordinator of the Greener UK ‘Brexit and Devolution’ working group.
From the coverage surrounding the launch of the UK government’s long awaited 25 year environment plan last week, one could easily have been forgiven for thinking it set out a long term strategy for restoring nature across the four UK nations. In fact, most of its proposals will only apply to England and, to a more limited extent, the UK Overseas Territories.
No vision for collaboration between UK nations
Since the late 90s, most areas of environmental policy have been devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As such, the new plan largely focuses on those aspects of environmental policy reserved to the UK government. Read more
This post is by Tom Lancaster, senior policy officer at the RSPB, and Marcus Gilleard, senior policy programme manager at the National Trust.
For a couple of policy wonks on the Brexit front line, perspective can be hard to come by at times. So we’ve taken a few days to digest Michael Gove’s speech at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference and assess where it leaves us in our quest for a more sustainable farming and land management system.
The Prime Minister’s latest intervention in the EU referendum campaign illustrates how the environment is taking its place in the modern political canon. Speaking from the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes nature reserve, Cameron noted how our EU membership underpins crucial environmental protections, and talked about the importance of nurturing Britain’s countryside and wildlife. At the same time, his speech, if not his words, demonstrated that environmentalists are important too.