The EU and our environment

Wednesday 9th March 2016

What does the current debate on Britain’s role in the future of the European Union mean for the environment?

The Wildlife Trusts together with WWF and RSPB and are asking campaigners on both sides of the EU referendum debate what they would do to protect our natural world and the vital services it provides, should their side be successful.

The Wildlife Trusts, WWF and RSPB are recommend that the public ask ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigners key questions including:

1. How would you make sure that action on nature protection, pollution and air quality is maintained and enhanced?
2. How would you exercise international leadership on climate change?
3. What is your vision for more environmentally responsible agriculture and fishing in the UK?

The call comes as a new analysis prepared by the independent Institute for European Environmental Policy, illustrates how EU measures have safeguarded birds such as the bittern, nightjar and Dartford warbler, protected habitats that are essential for butterflies and bees and have delivered cleaner air, rivers and beaches. Read a summary of the report here and a copy of the full report here.

The report is also clear that there should be changes and improvements. The Common Agricultural Policy has driven an intensification of agricultural systems across the EU, which has directly driven wildlife declines. Conservation groups have been campaigning for many years for reforms of the CAP so that it prioritises the protection and enhancement of public goods (such as wildlife), and not just intensification of production.

At Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust we believe our role should be to provide factual information on how membership of the EU currently affects nature and the natural environment in Gloucestershire. It is not our role to advise people which way to vote in the referendum.

The Trust has not and will not spend any money campaigning for or against membership of the EU. We have a broad membership with a variety of political views and we are not affiliated to either the ‘in’ or ‘out’ campaigns in the upcoming EU referendum.