Thursday, 8 December 2016

A Greener UK

UK’s major environmental organisations unite to highlight “once in a generation opportunity” for the environment as UK exits the EU

·         13 environmental organisations, with a combined membership of 7.9 million, have united to launch Greener UK
·         Greener UK calls on the Prime Minister to restore and enhance the UK’s environment and maintain its environmental protections during Brexit negotiations
·         145 MPs have signed the Greener UK Pledge for the Environment committing to make the UK a world leader on the environment
·         Polling shows 80% of British adults think we need the same or stronger levels of environmental protection after we leave the EU

Thirteen major environmental organisations including WWF, the National Trust, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and Friends of the Earth have united through a new Greener UKcoalition to ensure that the UK uses the pivotal moment presented by the forthcoming Brexit negotiations to restore and enhance the UK’s environment.

In a letter to the editor of the Times, Greener UK states that leaving the EU presents significant challenges but also important opportunities for the UK’s environment. It calls on the Prime Minister to state her commitment to using the forthcoming Brexit negotiations to restore the UK’s environment and maintain its protections, many of which have been developed with the EU.

They have welcomed the government’s environmental ambitions but say that the UK’s natural environment is at risk, with over half of species declining, temperatures rising and poor air quality damaging people’s health.
Alongside the launch of the coalition, 155 MPs from across the UK’s political parties, including many Sussex MPs, have signed up to the Greener UK coalition’s Pledge for the Environment. In the pledge, the MPs state their belief that the UK government, working with the governments in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, must build a healthy and prosperous future. The MP signatories also commit to do everything in their power to:
  • establish the UK as a world leader on the environment by matching or exceeding current environmental, wildlife and habitat protections;
  • ensure that the UK leads on climate action
  • create a countryside richer in nature by supporting farmers and landowners to deliver environmental benefits alongside a thriving farming sector.

In addition to the launch of the coalition and the Pledge for the Environment, a recent YouGov poll revealed that four in five British adults think Britain should have the same (38%) or stronger (42%) environmental protection after it leaves the EU. At the same time, around two in three Brits think that the environment will either stay the same (40%), or worsen (27%) when we leave the EU.

Dr Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of RSPB, commented:
“Now more than ever, the natural environment is at risk, both at home and overseas. The Greener UK coalition believes we have a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that we protect and enhance the UK’s natural environment and wildlife, reduce our footprint on the global environment and build a healthy and prosperous future for all.  The negotiations on our future following the EU referendum must provide the impetus we need to protect and secure our country and our planet for future generations. ”

And for a more complete view on creating a Greener UK after the EU see the blog by Stephanie Hilbourne – national CEO of The Wildlife Trusts.