General Election 2017 is chance to commit to a healthy environment
Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election. She says she needs a strong mandate for her Brexit plans. I think the election also gives the Prime Minister and other political party leaders a perfect opportunity to recommit to existing environmental protections and improve the health of our environment, year on year.
We know they have the support of the British public for not weakening environmental protections.
- 83% said Britain should pass laws providing a higher (46%) or the same (37%) level of protection for wild areas and wildlife species than current EU laws. Only 4% want lower protection.
- 81% want to keep an EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been found to pose a threat to bees, with only 5% saying it should end.
- 57% said British farming subsidies should put either more (25%) or the same (32%) emphasis on environmental protection than the current EU subsidies do. Only 7% said British farming subsidies should put less emphasis on protecting the environment.
We also know that climate change is already wreaking havoc around the world.
Just last month the World Meteorological Office said climate change in 2016 contributed to extreme weather events, including the severe droughts that have brought food insecurity to millions in southern and eastern Africa and Central America.
It pointed out that Hurricane Matthew caused widespread suffering in Haiti as the first category 4 storm to make landfall since 1963, and inflicted significant economic losses in the US. Meanwhile heavy rains and floods affected eastern and southern Asia.
We are going to ask candidates to promise to ensure that our local, national and international environment gets better, year on year, with:
- cleaner air,
- less carbon pollution
- more nature.
We want MPs to promise that they will oppose any attempts to water down the rules and regulations that have protected our green and pleasant land and enabled us to demonstrate global leadership on shared environmental problems.
Over the coming weeks in the run up to the General Election there will be lots of discussions about Brexit and the future of the UK.
We need to make sure the environment is not ignored.
Together we can do this.
A version of this article first appeared in i newspaper on 19 April 2017.