Monday, 3 October 2022

Public urged to defend nature as new policies threaten nature, climate and food security

Devon Wildlife Trust is asking their members, supporters and the wider public to defend nature by contacting MPs and local councillors – both online and in person – to voice concerns over new Government proposal

Devon Wildlife Trust, alongside other nature charities, is extremely worried about announcements made by the Government that pose serious threats to nature, climate and food security.

Over the last few days, the Government has:

  • Announced the Retained EU Law Bill – threatening to revoke hundreds of laws that protect wild places and ensure standards for water quality, pollution and the use of pesticides
  • Announced a new planning and infrastructure bill as well as investment zones as part of the growth plan, which threaten to weaken vital protections for habitats and wildlife
  •  Launched a ‘review’ of the long-awaited Environmental Land Management schemes – which were meant to reward farmers for restoring nature, preventing pollution from entering rivers and climate-proofing their businesses
  • Lifted a ban on fracking in England, despite there being no evidence that proves fracking is safe

The proposals have caused outrage among green charities, politicians of all political persuasion, farmers, campaigners, and members of the public – many of whom feel anxious that the Government is not tackling the nature and climate crises with the urgency required.

A recent poll by the Climate Coalition – a group of leading environmental organisations and campaigners – found that only 23% of people felt the Government is doing enough to tackle the climate crisis. Polling carried out by Unchecked found that strong regulation is supported by voters – irrespective of which way they voted in the EU referendum.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:

“Nature is under attack from a raft of dangerous decisions by Government and we know people are furious at the new threats. Vital legal protections for wildlife are at risk, fossil fuel extraction is being favoured over renewables, and the Government is going back on plans to reward farmers for managing land in a nature-friendly way.

“The Government’s Food Security Report 2021 identified climate change and biodiversity loss as the biggest threats to food production in future – so farming in harmony with nature must be encouraged – yet the Government wants deregulation that’ll lead to yet more poo in rivers, less wildlife and land that’s unable to adapt to climate change.

“We are calling on the public to contact their elected representatives and share just how concerned they are. These actions will affect us all – the communities where we live, our wild places, food security, and our futures. The climate and nature crises pose monumental challenges, and recent proposals by this Government will only make things worse.” 

Harry Barton, CEO Devon Wildlife Trust, says:

“The recent Government announcements could put us back decades in our efforts to protect nature and the climate. Senior UK Government representatives have recently referred to environmental protections as ‘burdens’, yet our economy depends on everything that nature provides – from food protection to clean air and water, and so much more. A healthy environment benefits our economy greatly, and nowhere is this clearer than in Devon with its £2.5 billion visitor spend.”

Devon Wildlife Trust argues that abandoning regulations that protect nature and creating low regulation ‘investment zones’ with few planning restrictions could decimate UK wildlife, which is already suffering steep declines.

Since 1970, more than 40% of species have declined in abundance, with 26% of mammals at risk of disappearing altogether. Every river and lake in England currently fails chemical pollution standards and only 16% are classed in good ecological health compared to 53% on average in the EU.

As things stand, Government ambition for nature’s recovery aims to have just 10% more nature in 2042 than 2030 levels – by which time the state of our natural world is expected to have declined even further. Earlier this year, The Wildlife Trusts wrote to the Prime Minister expressing serious concern and calling instead for a 20% increase on 2022 levels.

For more information, see:

To tweet to your MP, visit:

#AttackOnNature. Photo copyright Luke Massey/2020VISION (All Rights Reserved)

#AttackOnNature. Photo copyright Luke Massey/2020VISION (All Rights Reserved)

2021 Food Security Report. The report sets out an analysis of statistical data relating to food security, fulfilling the duty in the Agriculture Act 2020 to present a report on food security to Parliament at least once every three years. Read the full report here.

The Climate Coalition. Research commissioned by The Climate Coalition – and released on 27th September – shows 7 out of 10 Brits are anxious about the impact of climate change and only 23% believe the Government is doing enough to tackle the climate crisis. The impact of climate change is British parents’ biggest worry for their children’s futures.


Unchecked – Protect or deregulate? This research seeks to explore public attitudes to regulation. Read the full report here


State of Nature. The State of Nature 2019 report also revealed that 41% of UK species studied have declined, 26% have increased and 33% shown little change since 1970, while 133 species assessed have already been lost from our shores since 1500. Read the full report here.

Devon Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental charity, with more than 36,000 members. The charity manages 60 nature reserves across Devon, including a range of beautiful landscapes such as woodlands, meadows, wetlands and heaths. Devon Wildlife Trust relies on charitable donations, grants and the generous support of its members and the general public to raise more than £5million every year. Money raised is spent maintaining our work for wildlife conservation and education in Devon, for present and future generations. More at

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