General Election 2019

I'm voting for wildlife

WildNet - Tom Marshall

This is our opportunity to vote for wildlife

Our wildlife is in trouble.  Species are declining at an alarming rate and we are at risk of losing vital habitats across the UK.  Now is the time to act and vote for a Government who want to protect our wildlife.

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Here in Derbyshire

Here in Derbyshire we see the issues first hand.  The places where wildlife live are becoming less wild.  They are smaller, more isolated and more polluted.  Year on year there are fewer of them, fewer safe places to provide a home for our hedgehogs, water voles, dippers and otters.  Only 13% of UK land is covered by woodland, and 72% of UK land is managed for agriculture.  15% of species are under threat of becoming extinct from Great Britain, and we don't want this to happen.

We want to see

We want to see cleaner rivers, so our fish can prosper.  We want more peat bogs, flower rich grasslands and woodlands restored which will pave the way for wildlife to once more call Derbyshire their home.  We want animals that once lived here such as ospreys, red squirrels, salmon and pine martens to return.  

To do this we need a Government that cares for wildlife and supports a strong Environment Bill.

State of Nature

The State of Nature report released on the 4th October 2019 releases findings based on monitoring from 1970 to now, and more specifically focuses on the last decade.  You can't argue with facts.

The report highlighted key problematic areas such as climate change, agricultural pressures, pollution and woodland management.

Read the report here

We want to see a Nature Recovery Network to help our wildlife back on its feet.  But to do this, we need Government support.

Candidates comments

David Kesteven, Green Party, Bolsover

The best way preserve our wildlife is to stop development which destroys it. The Green Party is the only political party that opposes HS2. Whilst other parties are engaged in a bidding war over how many trees they will plant The Green Party is the only one that will prevent the destruction of ancient woodlands and SSSI’s  that would be destroyed by this project.

The Green Party puts the environment at the heart of its policies , we need to care more about our planet than generating ever increasing returns for shareholders at the cost of all we hold dear.

Lorraine Johnson, Liberal Democrats, South Derbyshire

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to your questions, regarding the Environment & the impact on local wildlife.  I’m responding with a mixture of personal view & Party Policy.

I personally am very concerned about the Environment & the destruction of woodlands & green belt with excessive development. I believe we should be planting more trees in order to alleviate the effects of Climate change. Liberal Democrats believe that we must keep the environment at the top of the agenda. Britain’s natural environment is precious. The countryside, wildlife and urban green spaces are critical to health, wellbeing and a sense of community. The quality of the environment also underpins key industries such as agriculture and tourism.

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to protect and support Britain’s wildlife. We will pass a Nature Act, which will put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing. We will also set legally binding natural capital targets, including on biodiversity, clean air and water, and empower the NCC to recommend actions to meet these targets. As well as this, we will reverse the current sharp decline in the rate of woodland creation by aiming to plant a tree for every UK citizen over the next ten years, and protect remaining ancient woodlands. We will also suspend the use of neonicotinoids until proven that their use in agriculture does not harm bees or other pollinators.

I personally have campaigned against Badger Culling because I believe it is both cruel & ineffective due to the perturbation of diseased badgers thus spreading infection. Liberal Democrats Policy is that no single intervention has the capacity to control the disease and that an integrated approach is necessary: surveillance, preventative measures and controls. As part of this integrated approach, we believe that an extensive badger vaccination programme is the ideal way forward to tackle the disease. However, as there is a shortage of the BCG vaccine to use for research purposes and a new bTB vaccine is years away from being ready, culling regrettably must form part of the current bTB eradication strategy. Personally I strongly resist culling in South Derbyshire where we have healthy badgers sharing fields with healthy cows. 

The Conservative government has now disbanded the Independent Expert Panel and Liberal Democrats have strong concerns about the humaneness of the shoots. Liberal Democrats are disappointed that the government decided to extend the cull before examining the most recent evidence of how effective, humane and safe it was.

The agricultural sector can play a major role in providing public goods and protecting wildlife. Liberal Democrats will continue our long campaign to reform agricultural subsidies – making sure British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out in the event of Britain leaving the EU, rebalancing away from direct subsidy and refocusing support towards the public goods that come from effective land management including countryside protection, flood prevention, food production, and climate change mitigation. This would ensure that smaller farms are protected and move support away from large landowners, whilst delivering a more localised agricultural policy.

Although not specifically related to South Derbyshire,  Coton in the Elms being in the very centre of Britain & as far from the sea In all directions,  nevertheless it’s important we protect our marine habitat. Liberal Democrats will support our precious marine habitats and wildlife. We will protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through reform of water management and higher water efficiency standards, and establish a ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas. Despite reform, the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver the economic or environmental objectives necessary. Hard Brexit and the loss of export markets threatens to further damage the industry, which has long suffered from being used as a bargaining chip by UK governments. Liberal Democrats would work with the industry and other stakeholders to develop a national plan for sustainable fisheries.

Kate Smith, Liberal Democrats, Amber Valley

As you may have noted from Felix [at the DWT Wildlife Hustings Event], our Manifesto has commitments on all the points you raise.  The exception being point 2, the local situation regarding bovine TB and badgers.  On this one I agree with you that vaccination is the way forward (though in line with Phil Bennion MEP, a noted agronimist for whom I worked for a time, there may be a place for very limited culling in exceptionally active hotspots).

Dennis Skinner, Labour, Bolsover

Dennis has always been committed to protecting the environment and wildlife and, being a keen walker, he knows and loves the Derbyshire landscape.

For those reasons he is pleased to sign up to your four commitments. He would also commend to you the Labour Environment Manifesto which you can read here:

We’re really excited about this because it doesn’t just identify the problems and the urgency, it provides practical solutions.

Matt Buckler, Green Party, Derbyshire Dales

I am a passionate advocate for wildlife and have been since I was a small child.  I currently work for a nature conservation organisation.

In terms of your specific questions, here are my thoughts, and how they relate to our policies.

The Green Party have always placed the environment at the centre of all our policies. This stance is becoming increasingly vindicated as we understand more about how all our activities impact the planet and we know that nature based solutions can help us to get out of the mess that we are currently in.

You mentioned an Environment Act. Our manifesto commits us to introducing 3 Acts with particular relevance to the environment:

 *   A new Clean Air Act which will set new air quality standards for the UK.
 *   A Sustainable Economy Act including targets for new soil quality and biodiversity standards.
 *   A Climate Emergency Education Act to support schools to teach young people about the urgency, severity and scientific basis of the climate and environmental crises, and to ensure youth voices are heard on climate issues.

The environment will be at the centre of all other parts of our legislative agenda. We will create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment. This legislation will place a legal duty on government to prevent agricultural and industrial practices which harm the environment.

We will create a new Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). This will be one integrated body to enforce environmental protections, from clean air to litter-free roads. The EPC will enforce the ecocide law, the new Clean Air Act. as well as the new soil quality and biodiversity standards.

We will end the badger cull, which has no evidence basis and has failed to effectively reduce Bovine TB. In the 1990s the government commissioned a major study, the Krebs report, to investigate means of controlling bovine TB. This report recommended controlled trials, which were done. Analysis of the results concluded that culling reduced bovine TB by 19% in the cull areas but caused an increase of 29% in the surrounding region. The report stated that "badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain. Indeed, some policies under consideration are likely to make matters worse rather than better.'' The report argued that it would be more cost-effective to improve cattle control measures, with zoning and supervision of herds, than it would be to cull badgers. In the time since the report, much more has been learnt about vaccination, especially through trials in Wales. NFU Cymru have been convinced by the results and have spoken in favour of vaccination.

We will fund research into a sensitive test to enable cattle vaccination, as an essential, as well as humane, part of a meaningful strategy to control the spread of the disease. We will also invest in better farm bio-security and badger vaccination. This policy is based on the available scientific evidence.

To protect our seas, we will commit to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030. We will also work with British Overseas Territories (BOTs) to increase the ‘blue belt’ protecting BOTs’ waters from commercial extraction, from the current 32% of coverage to 50%.

The centrepiece of our manifesto is the Green New Deal. A large part of this considers food, farming & forestry. This includes policies such as:

 *   Work with farmers to refocus farm subsidies to help farmers transition to more sustainable, diverse and environmentally friendly forms of land use.
 *   Provide farmers with grants to allow replacement of old high-emitting carbon farming machinery with low carbon machinery.
 *   Encourage the expansion and replanting of hedgerows.
 *   Better connect rural communities through reliable broadband.
 *   Plant 700 million new trees and aim for 50% of all farms to be engaged in agroforestry by 2030.

Perhaps the most important proposal is this:

 *    Legislate to give farmers greater security of tenure, so that they can invest in sustainable improvements to their land, whilst ending the use of land as a tax shelter and encouraging new entrants into farming.

This has the potential to dramatically change the way our countryside is used, and the relationship to the land of those who work on it.

The objective is that through reforestation, rewilding and regenerative farming, we will reduce carbon emissions and realise the land’s ability to absorb carbon, while at the same time enabling it to provide a healthy and varied diet for all of us.

I have attached a copy of our manifesto, which also includes developing a GCSE in Nature, to help young people get more engaged with the natural world.

I hope that this answers your questions and I hope that you will consider voting Green at this election.  If not now, when?

What can you do?

Show your support on social media

Share your support on social media by adding our twibbon to your profile picture.  Show your friends and family that you support a positive change for our wildlife.

Head over to facebook and add a frame to your profile photo.  You can also download our profile frames below and creating your own profile photo.

Black twibbon // White twibbon

Join us at our Hustings event

we are in conversation with local MPs and activists to arrange a 'question time' style panel debate for the evening.  The focus will be on the environment bill and the current state of nature.  This will take place on the 4th December, book your free ticket with us now!

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