Green charities urge millions of members to oppose Tories’ ‘attack on nature’ | Environmental activism

Environmental charities are mobilizing their millions of members to take on the UK government over what they say is an attack on nature in the push for growth.

Groups including the RSPB, the National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, and Wildlife and Countryside link are encouraging supporters to put pressure on Conservative MPs over proposals that they say strike at the heart of environmental and wildlife protections.

The main charities involved have a combined membership of more than 15 million.

Their concerns include:

The charities’ campaign asks members to contact their Conservative MPs to leave them in no doubt of their opposition to the proposals.

Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s chief executive, said: “We are gearing up to fight the biggest attack on nature in a generation and the immediate outpouring of support from all quarters has been overwhelming.

“The economy, food security and our own health and well-being is wholly binding on a healthy natural environment, yet this government appears intent on amending or scrapping crucial environmental laws. As we hold urgent talks with our partners across the sector, we are calling on all nature lovers to stand up for wildlife, contact their MPs, and make their voices heard.”

Craig Bennett, the chief executive officer of the Wildlife Trusts, said: “Nature is under attack from a raft of dangerous decisions by government and we know people are furious at the new threats.

“Vital legal protections for wildlife are at risk, fossil fuel extraction is being favored over renewables, and the government is going back on plans to reward farmers for managing land in a nature-friendly way.

“The government wants deregulation that will lead to yet more poo in rivers, less wildlife and land that’s unable to adapt to climate change.

“We are calling on the public to contact their elected representatives and share just how concerned they are. These actions will affect us all – the communities where we live, our wild places, food security, and our futures.”

Hilary McGrady, the director general of the National Trust, which has 5.7 million members, said environmental protections were being dismissed as burdens, while investment and growth were pitted against nature and climate action.

Mark Lloyd, of the Rivers Trust, called for the government to meet environmental NGOs to work in collaboration. He said: “We urge the government to discuss urgently with environmental NGOs and others how we can develop collaborative plans to achieve sustainable economic growth while restoring the health of our natural environment. Each is dependent on the other.”

The campaign comes as the former environment secretary Michael Gove and ex-environment minister Rebecca Pow signed a letter in the Times calling for the retention of payments that reward farmers for environmental improvements such as cleaner water, improved soil and more pollinators.

A government spokesperson said: “Claims we intend to go back on our commitment to the environment are simply not right. A strong environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. We have legislated through the Environment Act and will continue to improve our regulations and wildlife laws in line with our ambitious vision.

“We want every corner of our country to prosper too. Bureaucratic processes in the planning system do not necessarily protect the environment so, by making sure we have the right regulations for our nation, we can make this happen.”