Will you speak up for me?
I need your help.
My home is under threat and there are fewer places to find food every day. And I’m not alone: thousands of birds, insects and other animals across England are finding it harder and harder to survive. Plants and trees are under pressure too.
The Wildlife Trusts and friends have convinced Westminster Government of the need for a new law – an Environment Act - to improve protection for our country’s wildlife. But not all politicians are convinced and to make sure the law not only protects wildlife like me but helps us to recover, we need everyone on board. MPs will be voting on this soon, so we need them to support a strong Environment Act, because a country with more wildlife is better for me – and better for you too!
I don't have an MP - but you do.
Please arrange a meeting with them and help us talk to every MP in the UK.
The campaign for a wilder future starts here....
Critically, we need the Environment Act to give us a Nature Recovery Network.
Wildlife cannot survive for long in isolated pockets, and our wildlife sites are currently too small and disconnected from one another to prevent a disastrous decline in wildlife.
A Nature Recovery Network secured in law would map important places for wildlife, allowing us to create more space for nature and re-connect broken and isolated habitats together, providing vital links or 'wildlife corridors' for species such as hedgehogs and otters to survive and thrive.
If the UK committed to mapping nature's recovery, alongside setting ambitious legal targets to increase the abundance of our wildlife, it would have a world-leading Environment Act, which would help us all be more connected to nature, healthier and happier.
How would an Environment Act help wildlife in England?
Improve people’s access to nature, especially in towns and cities
Create new wild areas and wildlife corridors across the county
Keep our existing wildlife sites safe from harm
Protect our best wildlife habitats under the sea
Stop our soils washing away into rivers and the sea
Improve air quality, especially in towns and cities
Stop poisoning our rivers and streams with chemicals
Reduce emissions that are contributing to climate change
Protect people’s rights to a healthy natural environment
Avoid the loss of environmental protection laws after Brexit.
Find out more:
Why is an Environment Act needed in England?
We need wildlife. Our natural world is valuable in its own right and is the foundation of our wellbeing - we depend on it and it depends on us. Without a healthy natural world the survival of humanity is at stake. By creating more space for nature, we can create a better world for people and wildlife.
Wildlife is in trouble. From rivers and woodlands, to birds and flowers, our natural world is struggling. Over half the species assessed in the State of Nature reporthave suffered since the 1970s, with many of our much-loved animals struggling. Just some of the declines we have seen in recent years include:
- 66% decline in the number of barn owls since the 1930s
- 95% decline in the number of basking shark in UK waters since 1950s
- 40% decline in the number of Atlantic salmon since the 1970s
- 90% decline in the number of common frogs since the 1980s
- 90% decline in the number of water voles since the 1990s.
Wildlife needs us. We can make a difference. A new and ambitious Environment Act can help reverse the trend of missing wildlife, setting out a plan for nature's recovery and creating a healthier natural world for us all.
What is a Nature Recovery Network?
A Nature Recovery Network is a joined-up network of existing and new habitats that allow wildlife and people to thrive in housing estates, on farms, in nature reserves, along road verges and riverbanks, in parks and gardens, on office roofs and in the hills.
A healthy natural environment is valuable in its own right and is the foundation of our wellbeing and prosperity. Yet, nature is in decline: many species are in freefall; wildlife habitats are becoming fewer, smaller and further apart - and many are damaged by poor management or insensitive development. We need this to change and to secure a shared vision across sectors, industries and communities that will put wildlife back into recovery.
The Wildlife Trusts are calling on Government to deliver this shared vision through a Nature Recovery Network.
A Nature Recovery Network would map and join-up important places for wildlife that are currently isolated, allow us to identify areas where wildlife is abundant or scarce, and crucially where nature needs to be put back. This will mean we can pro-actively plan and deliver nature's recovery, and ensure ambitious environmental targets are effectively delivered on the ground.
We believe that a Nature Recovery Network must be included in new environmental laws to better protect existing wildlife sites on land and at sea, create more space for wildlife and link wildlife habitats. This would commit relevant authorities to create and maintain local maps and motivate action for nature's recovery, informing decisions on housing and development, allow public and private investment to be well-spent and provide more equal access to nature for everyone.
What to expect when meeting your MP
MPs want to know what it is you care about. Not only do they want to hear from you, they have a duty to listen - their job is to represent you in Parliament! MPs are generally friendly and open for a chat, but they are pressed for time so don't expect meetings to last too long. Generally appointments will last around 10-15 minutes - so make sure you've got your key messages ready. You might find it helpful to prepare in advance and perhaps even rehearse what you want to say beforehand. It's also important to research who your MP is. Find out what they care about and whether or not they have taken an active interest in the environment before - that way you can go into the meeting fully prepared. You can find a lot of that information here.
All MP surgeries are slightly different, but in most cases you are likely to be sat in a waiting room before your appointment with people from your local area. Once it is your turn, you'll be invited into an office for your chance to persuade your MP why they should be supporting a new law for nature's recovery. You won't regret it (and to your friends, family and potential employees it sounds really impressive - so be sure to let them know!).
Making your Meeting Effective
Share your story:
MPs love personal stories. Share yours with them, choosing experiences that have taken place in your local area and meant a lot to you. This way you can show your MP how much the natural environment in your area matters. Perhaps there are some moments shared with your Wildlife Trust or events you've attended that stand out? Can you think how even more wildlife in your area would help to improve it?
Have a clear ask:
To make your meeting as successful as possible, make sure you have some clear things to ask your MP to do for you. For example, you could ask them to write to their Party Leader e.g. Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, and their environment team to support an ambitious Environment Act for all the reasons shared above. You can also ask them what they think they can do to help make this happen too!
Don’t worry if you’re not an expert:
It’s your MP’s job to listen to you and you will probably know far more than them - just be passionate about the issue.
Take a photo:
Ask your MP if you can take a photo with them - this is a great way to let others know that people have been speaking to them about nature’s recovery, and to encourage them to do the same. MPs often like the publicity too!
Following up with your MP
Following up with your MP is a good way to keep your meeting fresh in their mind – sending them a quick ‘thank you’ email with the photo is a nice way of doing this.
It might also help to take brief notes on what was said in the meeting so you can remind them of anything they have committed to and hold them to it!
Things to help you during your visit
How does this fit in with what other charities and individuals are doing?
You may have noticed that there are a few voices speaking up for wildlife at the moment. The Wildlife Trusts are part of a coalition called the Greener UK with 12 other environmental charities campaigning for nature's recovery at what we see as a crucial point for its survival. Each of these charities has agreed to the same set of messages in calling for new laws to help restore our wildlife, but are running their own campaigns alongside ours, so that collectively we can reach as many people as possible, each playing to our own strengths e.g. WWF-UK's #FightforyourWorld.
Concerned about the threat to our wildlife, a few independent people are also acting for nature's recovery. For example, Chris Packham recently launched 'A People's Manifesto for Wildlife', suggesting a range of policies. A copy of this independent document has been sent to every MP.
When talking to your MP, it is worth bearing in mind some of these campaigns, as they may have received letters or been asked to do things in relation to them - so it might crop up in conversation!