Countdown for Wildlife – Act Swiftly!

Wednesday 11th April 2018

Photo of swiftAct swiftly. Photo: Stefan Johansson

Rare chance to reverse the decline of nature in England

People who care about nature are being urged to seize a unique opportunity for new national farming policies to reverse the decline of English wildlife.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is asking everyone who wants to see nature’s fortunes improve to act swiftly and respond to government consultation on farming  which ends in early May.

The consultation present a very rare opportunity – the first in living memory – to influence the future of national farming and how these impact on nature in England. Precious wild places and the species that depend on them have suffered catastrophic declines over the past 70 years – intensive farming and urbanisation have been major causes.* Now the public has a chance to call for a visionary approach to the environment – one that means farm support and regulation work together towards the recovery of our nature and wildlife.

Neil Harnott, Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Senior Conservation Officer, says:
“The Government has launched a consultation about what will replace the current system of farming subsidies when we leave the European Union. This consultation will inform the Government’s vision for land management and farming far into the future.

“How we manage our land, and the way government influences this through subsidies, has a massive impact on wildlife. All the evidence shows that agricultural management and climate change have been the two major drivers of wildlife loss in the UK in recent decades. This needs to change if wildlife is to thrive in the future.”

The consultation on the future for food, farming and the environment is here; it closes on 8th May. It asks where public money, in the form of subsidies to farmers, should be spent in the future. It will also help to establish how the rules and standards for land management should be set and enforced. Farming practices are one of the key reasons for wildlife decline in the countryside, so if we want nature’s recovery we need a revolution in the way that farmland is managed. What works for wildlife will be good for people, too. Farmers need healthy soils and large populations of pollinators, like bees, to grow crops. We need clean, healthy water running into our rivers. We need a wildlife-rich countryside to relax in. To ensure this, Cumbria Wildlife Trust want to see rules that:

  1. Reward farmers and land managers for the benefits they provide for society, like clean water, healthy soils and a wildlife-rich countryside
  2. Replace the Common Agricultural Policy with a system that supports public benefits and environmental outcomes for society
  3. Leaving the European Union must not lead to a dilution of environmental standards. Everyone should be required to adhere to a basic set of rules that protect our rivers and land from being polluted. It is vital that there is a robust regulatory system and strong enforcement of these rules.

You can find out more information about the consultation and about how you can respond to it at

*For information about wildlife decline see the latest State of Nature report, 2016. It shows more clearly than ever before that nature is in serious decline across the UK. Over the last 50 years, 56% of species have declined, while 15% are at risk of disappearing from our shores altogether. For the main drivers of decline turn to pp 12 & 13 of the actual report pdf here

Tagged with: Living Landscapes