General Election 2017 responses

Our letter to Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and their responses below:

Dear X,

Cumbria Wildlife Trust was founded in 1962 to protect and conserve the biodiversity of Cumbria’s wildlife and wild places. We aim to achieve an environment richer in wildlife for everyone. Cumbria Wildlife Trust looks after and manages 43 diverse and species-rich nature reserves throughout Cumbria, which provide safe havens for threatened plants and animals and unspoilt places for people to visit. We educate and inspire people of all ages to discover and enjoy wildlife to gain a greater understanding of nature, environmental issues and sustainable development.

Here in Cumbria we have such amazing and varied landscapes that it is vital we recognise and look after these to improve the wellbeing of our local communities. However the natural environment is under real threat. The latest State of Nature report 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.

And people that vote for you really care about this. A recent poll by Populus found extremely strong support in favour of protecting wildlife amongst voters. For instance 79% of those surveyed stated that “Stewardship of our environment is an obligation we have to future generations”

However with Brexit on the horizon there is a real risk that much of the legislation we have that protects wildlife will be lost. We are particularly concerned that there will be no effective, independent enforcement body for our environmental laws once we no longer have recourse to the European Court of Justice. It is quite clear that voters do not want this to happen with 93% wanting to strengthen or at least keep protections for wildlife and habitats after the UK leaves the EU.

Likewise, with the loss of the Common Agricultural Policy it is vital that any new subsidy system put in place rewards farmers for delivering public goods. This is especially true in Cumbria where public money should be utilised to ensure we restore habitats, not only for the wildlife that they support, but for the natural flood benefits we get from rich and varied habitats. Again, this position is supported by voters with 61% of those surveyed wanting to maintain payments to farmers after the UK leaves the EU and 44% of them stating that these payments should “be paid in order to support farming practices that improve the environment such as tree planting or natural flood management”.

We are asking you to pledge to secure the recovery of nature in England by:
1. Nature's recovery in a generation. To achieve this will require us to transfer all current EU environmental laws into statute in the UK and ensure they are independently policed, and in England, to enact an Environment Act that restores the ecology of our rivers, farmland, soils and cities.
2. Protection of our marine wildlife through a well enforced and complete network of marine protected areas in UK seas and sustainable fisheries policies.
3. New sustainable policies for our uplands to allow wildlife to thrive whilst delivering natural flood management for communities downstream. Taxpayer’s money should be invested in creating abundant wildlife, healthy soils, clean water, climate change mitigation and beautiful landscapes for the benefit of everyone.

I hope you will feel able to help us protect nature by supporting these three pledges. I will be publishing your response along with other prospective parliamentary candidates on our website and through press releases on X.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Bullard

Responses from Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (in no particular order):

Conservative party logo

Response from Simon Fell, Parliamentary Candidate for Barrow and Furness, Conservative Party 

Dear Peter

Many thanks for your letter, dated 16 May.

I am very happy to support the three pledges you list in your letter.

With kind regards


Green Party logo

Response from Doug Lawson, Parliamentary Candidate for Penrith and the Border, Green Party


I'm happy to endorse your pledges. Probably not a big surprise from the Green Candidate.

My family and I are members of Cumbria Wildlife Trust. We have been since we moved here 2 years ago.


Doug Lawson
Parliamentary Candidate, Penrith and The Border
Green Party

Labour party logo

Response from Sue Hayman, Parliamentary Candidate for Workington, Labour Party

Dear Peter

Further to your letter dated 16 May 2017 regarding a personal pledge for wildlife.

As a member of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, I would be more than happy to support your three pledges.

Kind regards.

Sue Hayman
Parliamentary Candidate, Workington 
Labour Party


Liberal Democrats logo

Response from Neil Hughes, Parliamentary Candidate for Penrith and The Border, Liberal Democrats

Noted, Margot; this all looks sensible.


Neil Hughes
Parliamentary Candidate, Penrith and The Border
Liberal Democrats

Response from Rebecca Hanson, Parliamentary Candidate for Copeland, Liberal Democrats

My apologies for the late reply to your request for my views on environmental and wildlife issues across Cumbria.

I recognise and support the vitally important issues which you have raised in the statement sent to all candidates fighting this General Election. The Wildlife Trusts, and specifically the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, have done invaluable work in highlighting environmental and wildlife issues, and have carried out a wide range of practical stewardship measures to protect our rich natural heritage across Cumbria. As an education specialist I greatly appreciate the work that you have carried out with schools in West Cumbria, both inside and outside the classroom.

I am profoundly concerned that the controversial and damaging government policy to seek a complete separation from the EU will in all likelihood lead to the loss of many of the subsidies and policies which have been promoted by the EU and - just as alarming - the loss of an effective enforcement body, the ECJ, to safeguard and underpin environmental and wildlife legislation.

You will be aware that the preferred course supported by the great majority of Liberal Democrats was to remain within the EU, but that the decision to leave, taken by a little over half of the voting public, has to be respected. Given the increasingly evident damage which will result from this course, the Liberal Democrats wish to see a second referendum or other effective test of public and parliamentary opinion before a final decision is taken in two years time, when the full implications (environmental and economic) of leaving the EU have become clear, following the imminent negotiation process.

There is clearly a special concern in Cumbria about the effects of the possible loss of EU subsidy for upland farmers. It would be essential for equivalent support to be provided by the UK government if we are to see the continuation of fell farming on what is almost all marginal land.

I wish to support and, if elected, help work to achieve the three measures you propose to protect nature and natural habitats in England by:

1. Working to achieve nature's recovery in a generation. To achieve this will require the transfer of most current EU environmental laws into statute in the UK and ensuring they are independently policed. This would require the development of a strong Environment Act to restore the ecology of our rivers, farmland, soils and cities, and would almost inevitably require an appropriate level of subsidy. It will be important to gain support from the farming and fishing industries in creating any such new legislation. Your proposal for an integrated environment and agricultural policy would help to achieve such support.

2. Protection of our marine wildlife through a wide network of marine protected areas in UK seas, together with sustainable fisheries policies. We have been disappointed by the slow progress achieved in creating the proposed marine protected areas.

3. Developing new sustainable policies for our uplands to allow wildlife to thrive whilst delivering natural flood management for communities downstream. We agree that there should be adequate and integrated investment to create abundant wildlife, healthy soils, clean water, climate change mitigation and beautiful landscapes for the benefit of everyone.

I would add that an important key to achieving these goals in the long term is to ensure that pupils and young people have the maximum opportunity to engage with, understand and enjoy the natural environment. I am confident that this will remain a priority for the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Rebecca Hanson
Parliamentary Candidate, Copeland
Liberal Democrats

Response from Tim Farron, Parliamentary Candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Liberal Democrats

Please click on this letter from Tim Farron
Parliamentary Candidate, Westmorland and Lonsdale
Liberal Democrats


UKIP party logo

Awaiting response from UKIP

Here are the email addresses for the prospective parliamentary candidates if you want to contact them about their responses:

Neil Hughes, Liberal Democrats
Rebecca Hanson, Liberal Democrats
Doug Lawson, Green Party
Sue Hayman, Labour Party
Simon Fell, Conservative Party
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats,Westmorland and Lonsdale


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response_tim_farron.pdf1.85 MB