Head of Wildlife Trusts gives cautious welcome to green plan

Friday 12th January 2018

Ragged robin at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Photo: Julia GarnerRagged robin at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Photo: Julia Garner

Theresa May’s speech on the environment yesterday has encouraging ambitions for land and sea but The Wildlife Trusts believe that the lack of legal underpinning is a fundamental flaw.

Commenting on the speech on the environment and the publication of the 25 Year Plan, Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “The PM’s speech shows that, at last, a Government is seeing how much the environment means to people, not least young people. Both the speech and the plan contain some very encouraging words and ambitions for land and sea but The Wildlife Trusts believe that the lack of legal underpinning is a fundamental flaw. In addition, it is vital that the Prime Minister fulfils her intention to ensure there is no weakening of environmental standards as we leave the EU’s world leading environmental legal system. It is heartening that the Conservative party are saying they are backing nature’s recovery and our reconnection with it. However, we must have cross-party support and legislation if this plan is going to be implemented over the next 25 years: we must guard against a change of mood in a few weeks, months or years if these promises are to become a reality."

Stephanie Hilborne continued: "It is clearly ridiculous to rely on political promises and the voluntary principle when it comes to securing a future for our most precious wild places. Equally, we cannot continue to bus children miles across the countryside to have an inspiring experience with nature – it needs to be part of their everyday lives no matter where they live. There must be an ambitious Environment Act in the next Queen’s Speech. Without real Government leadership our wildlife and wild places will continue to decline and with it our mental health as even more people become isolated from the benefits of day to day contact with nature."

Read Stephanie's statement in full