The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has reacted to the news of Prime Minister Theresa May’s 25 year plan for the environment.
Earlier this month the Prime Minister gave a speech on the environment to launch the Government’s proposals.
Despite the plan looking at both land and sea, nationally the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust believes that the lack of legal underpinning is a fundamental flaw.
Ian Jelley, director of living landscapes at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Here in Warwickshire we welcome the news that the Government has finally recognised the importance of the natural environment.
“However, without legislation to underpin the 25 Year Environment Plan its future success seems limited from the outset.
“The natural environment is vital to our health and well-being and the 25 Year Environment Plan needs to be embedded across Government departments to ensure that housing, infrastructure, health and education all benefit from having nature properly integrated into their policies.
“We should be building in nature, not building on it.
“We hope that the Government will embrace the growing body of evidence which supports the value of the natural environment, and works with organisations like the Wildlife Trust to realise its vision of leaving the environment in a better condition for the next generation.”
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Wildlife Trust’s chief executive, said: “It is clearly ridiculous to rely on political promises and the voluntary principle when it comes to securing a future for our most precious wild places.
“Equally, we cannot continue to bus children miles across the countryside to have an inspiring experience with nature – it needs to be part of their everyday lives no matter where they live.
“There must be an ambitious Environment Act in the next Queen’s Speech.
“Without real Government leadership our wildlife and wild places will continue to decline and with it our mental health as even more people become isolated from the benefits of day to day contact with nature.”
The Trust is also concerned with the environmental intentions and the impact leaving the EU could have.
A spokesperson from the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust continued: “It is vital that the Prime Minister fulfils her intention to ensure there is no weakening of environmental standards as we leave the EU’s world-leading environmental legal system.
“It is heartening that the Conservative party are saying they are backing nature’s recovery and our reconnection with it.
“However, we must have cross-party support and legislation if this plan is going to be implemented over the next 25 years: we must guard against a change of mood in a few weeks, months or years if these promises are to become a reality.
“It is also good to hear a repeated commitment to designate more Marine Conservation Zones to help our seas and their wildlife recover from past losses.
“We have the legislation in place to do this, so completing the network in English seas at least should be a key priority for the year ahead.
“We welcome further crackdowns on plastic pollution but there is still no firm sign of legislation on this or incentives to ensure that industry produces less plastic.”
The published 25 year plan for the environment has 10 goals to achieve.
The plan documents say: “By adopting this plan we will achieve: Clean air, clean and plentiful water, thriving plants and wildlife, a reduced risk of harm from environmental hazards such as flooding and drought, using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently and enhanced beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment.
“In addition, we will manage pressures on the environment by: Mitigating and adapting to climate change, minimising waste, managing exposure to chemicals and enhancing biosecurity.”
A spokesperson from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “The Wildlife Trusts would also have liked to see more about how the plan can be further designed and implemented at a local level - it will need to be enabled, guided and co-ordinated through local Nature Recovery Plans, to maximise the benefits.
“It will need substantial investment from government, business and across society - and it will need to be given the support of the law.”
To look at the plan go to https://www.gov.uk/government