During the course of the election campaign, a number of constituents have approached me with their concerns about preserving the natural environment.
In 2010 the Prime Minister stated that “I want us to be the greenest government ever”. It is worth saying that the government has made some progress in developing policy since then, in publishing a Natural Environment White Paper in 2011, and establishing the Natural Capital committee.
However, while fine in words, in actual deeds thing have been less successful. The cross party parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee has given the coalition government a RED card, for air pollution, biodiversity and flood and coastal protection.
Indeed the government’s own data shows the first decline in the standard of protected areas (Natura 2000 sites) since records began. The State of Nature Report and Wildlife Link’s 2013 Nature Check report shows the decline of our natural environment is getting worse.
The government promised to put England on target to get 50% of protected areas up to a favourable condition by 2020. Based upon the average annual change since then, the gap between target and achievement will be 97,479 hectares for woodland alone.
Labour is committed to a 25 year plan for the recovery of nature, with clear 5 year milestones. This will reverse the decline in our natural environment.