Britain's green groups unite to fight for environmental protection post-Brexit
The National Trust, RSPB, WWF and Friends of the Earth are among 13 environmental organisations that have today (8 December) come together to form the Greener UK coalition.
Greener UK has been formed with the primary intention of ensuring that the UK uses the "pivotal moment" presented by the Brexit negotiations to restore and enhance the UK’s natural environment.
The coalition of green groups, which also includes ClientEarth, the Green Alliance and Greenpeace, is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to use Brexit as a "significant opportunity" to make the UK a world-leader on green policy and to maintain successful, EU-developed environmental protections.
"Now, more than ever, the natural environment is at risk - both at home and overseas," said RSPB chief executive Mike Clarke. "The Greener UK coalition believes we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that we protect and enhance the UK’s natural environment and wildlife, reduce our footprint on the global environment and build a healthy and prosperous future for all.
“The negotiations on our future following the EU referendum must provide the impetus we need to protect and secure our country and our planet for future generations.”
In a letter addressed to the editor of the Times today, the newly-formed Greener UK calls on Prime Minister May to demonstrate a commitment to environmental issues in post-Brexit UK policy. Rising temperatures, species decline and air quality leading to poor healthare all cited as clear reasons for the commitment to be made.
Alongside the launch of Greener UK, 145MPs from across the UK's political parties have signed up to the coalition’s Pledge for the Environment. In making this pledge, the MPs agree that the UK Government must work more closely with local authorities - including the Governments in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh - to “build a healthy and prosperous future for all”.
The MP signatories also commit to do everything in their power to: -
- Establish the UK as a world leader on the environment by matching or exceeding current environmental, wildlife and habitat protections.
- Ensure that the UK leads on climate action.
- Create a countryside richer in nature by supporting farmers and landowners to deliver environmental benefits alongside a thriving farming sector.
The coalition has been welcomed by a number of UK politicians, including Labour MP for Wigan and former shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change Lisa Nandy, who said: "The UK’s environment will be hugely affected by the upcoming EU negotiations and the government must ensure it keeps our commitments to protect our environment for future generations.
“Now, more than ever, the quality of the air we breathe, our changing climate, and our natural environment, both at home and overseas, is at risk. Coalitions like Greener UK are vital to ensure that the voice of millions of British people, who value our environment and want to build a sustainable, clean economy, is heard."
Conservative MP for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse added: “This is a defining moment for the environment. The Government’s ambition to restore our natural world for the next generation means we’ll need to value our air, water and wildlife properly and strengthen our efforts to protect them, across political divides and across the country, from inner city to countryside and coast.
“I’m delighted to welcome the Greener UK coalition, bringing together the support of millions of people who want us to invest in nature for the next generation.”
The Greener UK coalition founders have also today drawn attention to a recent YouGov poll, which revealed support from the UK populace to protect the UK environment. The poll revealed that four in five British adults think Britain should have the same (38%) or stronger (42%) environmental protection after it leaves the EU. But two-thirds think that the environment will either stay the same (40%), or worsen (27%) when we leave the EU.