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Greener UK Manifesto Launch

Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Chee Dale Nature reserve, Shoshannah Crookes, Derbyshire Wildlife TrustChee Dale Nature reserve, Shoshannah Crookes

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is part of a coalition launching a manifesto today, urging the Government to use Brexit to benefit the environment.

The manifesto from the Greener UK Coalition, a collective of 13 major environmental organisations, including WWF, the National Trust, RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts, calls on the UK government to restore and enhance the environment as part of its plans for leaving the European Union.

The launch follows a House of Lords report last week, which identified the risk of a vacuum in the oversight and enforcement of environment legislation, and the challenge of effectively maintaining the extensive existing environmental protections through the Repeal Bill.

As well as sharing these concerns, the coalition wants to emphasise that Brexit offers the chance to make a greener UK a reality, by:

• Securing the benefits of existing environmental laws and principles through the Repeal Bill, as the UK leaves the EU.
• Ensuring the UK continues to co-operate with the EU on energy and climate change, and affirming ongoing investment in, and deployment of, clean energy infrastructure.
• Introducing new policies and investment that create thriving farming and fishing industries, working with the grain of nature to return our land, seas, lakes and rivers to good health.
• Passing an ambitious new Environment Act for England, building on the upcoming 25 year plan with measurable milestones for environmental restoration and high standards for pollution and resource efficiency. (New, separate Acts may also be required in the devolved nations.)

194 MPs from across the UK’s political parties have so far signed up to the Greener UK coalition’s Pledge for the Environment, including Derbyshire MPs Dennis Skinner and Maggie Throup.

Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“We’ve been heartened by the government’s commitment to transfer EU environmental law into domestic law, though there remain significant unanswered questions about how the UK will replace the enforcement functions currently carried out by EU bodies. But if we are to allow for nature's recovery, we must set our sights higher. Now is the time to raise ambition, establishing bold nature goals, better management of land and seas, and innovative environmental policy that can underpin the UK’s new place in the world. Being a truly global Britain means building a thriving economy in harmony with solutions to the critical environmental challenges that will define the twenty-first century.”

Ross Murray, President of the Country Land and Business Association, said:
“At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, we have an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to sustainable farming and land use policies. In the long term, a resilient and profitable agricultural sector will depend on this. The CLA looks forward to working with all parties, including those in Greener UK, as we navigate through the Brexit process to ensure we develop world-leading UK food, farming and environmental policies that benefit everyone.”

You can read the Greener UK manifesto in full here