Time to vote – so what is the nat­u­ral choice?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - WILD LIFE -

The qual­ity of our air, water, soil, and con­se­quently our food, health and in­creas­ing pros­per­ity all de­pend on the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. But have we seen any­thing about this in the man­i­festos?

At the Wildlife Trust we have set up a web­page to help you Vote for Na­ture. We’ve sug­gested a few ques­tions to ask when can­di­dates come knock­ing at your door, or you go to a hus­tings meet­ing.

The same page has de­tails of what the can­di­dates in the Chesham & Amer­sham con­stituency are say­ing about na­ture.

What the Wildlife Trusts across the UK re­ally want are politi­cians who care for the en­vi­ron­ment and are will­ing to speak up for na­ture in their con­stitu- en­cies.

In the past most po­lit­i­cal par­ties have been quick to say nice things about the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment (who would stand on a prom­ise of en­vi­ron­men­tal de­struc­tion?), but then slow to do any­thing to pro­tect it.

There’s plenty of ev­i­dence show­ing us that when we have easy ac­cess to na­ture we feel bet­ter men­tally and phys­i­cally. This is ben­e­fi­cial for the NHS too, and in­creases our work pro­duc­tiv­ity; so look­ing af­ter na­ture is good for our econ­omy and so­ci­ety.

The UK’s exit from the EU has un­der­stand­ably ab­sorbed a lot of the head­lines since the elec­tion was called. A lot of the cov­er­age has been fo­cused on how much it will cost to set­tle our bill be­fore we leave. But we will be living with the con­se­quences of the man­i­festo com­mit­ments made now for at least the next five years.

Just how im­por­tant main­tain­ing the nat­u­ral world is, for peo­ple as much as for wildlife, has be­come much more ap­par­ent dur­ing the pe­riod in which the UK has been within the EU. As a con­se­quence many of our en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions have de­vel­oped within the EU’s frame­work. Mak­ing sure these pro­tec­tions aren’t eroded should surely be a pri­or­ity for the new Par­lia­ment.

If na­ture is ig­nored there will be fewer but­ter­flies, bees and other in­sects to pol­li­nate the fruit and veg­etable crops we ex­pect to see in shops. Pol­li­na­tors have no voice to ask for reg­u­la­tions on the use of neon­i­coti­noids and other pes­ti­cides, as well as a di­verse coun­try- side which sup­ports their needs.

The na­tion goes to the polls next Thurs­day. All of those stand­ing in the Elec­tion need to be re­minded that we need ac­tion to pro­tect our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

In the new Par­lia­men­tary term the Wildlife Trusts will be ask­ing for an En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Act, which two par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees have al­ready said should be put in place. But un­less vot­ers ac­tu­ally tell the can­di­dates how im­por­tant it is to them, wildlife will lan­guish in the “im­por­tant, but not ur­gent enough to bother about” cat­e­gory.

Please, who­ever you in­tend to vote for, re­mind your can­di­dates just how im­por­tant it is that we need pos­i­tive ac­tion for the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment to make a bet­ter fu­ture.

Read more about putting na­ture at the heart of the elec­tion at www.bbowt.org.uk/ vote-for-na­ture

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