UK General Election 2017: why it matters for wildlife

The snap UK General Election on June 8th is happening at a crucial time for wildlife.

The next Government will have some big decisions to make for the UK’s natural environment. Never before have the stakes for wildlife been so great. The majority of our environmental laws are currently wrapped up with our membership of the European Union.

Here in Gloucestershire, we are lucky to enjoy an environment rich in wildlife, but threats to nature in the county are greater than ever. We recognise that new housing, road schemes and other development are needed, but we believe that they can be designed to benefit both people and wildlife. The Severn Estuary, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods are just some of the international wildlife hotspots in the county currently covered by EU nature directives; and our local bats, newts, and otters amongst the wild animal species specially protected.

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has contacted all prospective parliamentary candidates for Gloucestershire and has asked each for their response to the following questions:

1. What will you do to ensure our wildlife laws remain strong and will you support an ambitious new Environment Act for England to restore the damage that has been done to nature?

2. What will you do to ensure we have new farming policies in each part of the UK to provide for nature’s recovery?

See if your candidates have responded here.

We know that there is huge popular support for wildlife and the environment from people of all backgrounds. In a recent YouGov poll, 80% of people said they think the UK should have the same or stronger environmental protection after it leaves the EU.1

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust believes that people are part of nature; everything we value ultimately comes from it and everything we do has an impact on it. We believe that each year, there should be more wildlife and more wild places, and people should become closer to nature. 

Take action!

You can help give wildlife a safer future. Candidates will be talking to you on your doorsteps and in your streets. 

You can let them know how much wildlife matters to you, and ask them what they plan to do to help it thrive. We’ve set out a few simple questions you can ask yourself and share with family and friends who share your commitment to the natural world?

1. What will your party do to ensure our wildlife laws remain strong and that steps are taken to restore the damage we have done to nature?
If you've got a bit longer, why not ask: Specifically for England, will you commit to an ambitious new Environment Act?

2. What will your party do to ensure that wildlife thrives in our seas once more?
If you want more detail, ask them: Will you make sure that more marine protected areas are designated and policed?

3. What will your party do to ensure we have new farming policies in each part of the UK to provide for nature’s recovery?
More specifically: Will you make sure that any payments to farmers are for positive environmental action?



[1] 42% think that the UK should have stronger environmental protection; 38% think the current level is about right. Online survey for Friends of the Earth by YouGov of 1,578 adults (18+), 29-30 November 2016.