Wales is home to a wonderful range of wildlife, beautiful landscapes and natural resources. From the red kite soaring overhead, to a dolphins leaping majestically in our waters to a child enthralled by a ladybird on their fingertip, we can all wonder at the variety of life and beautify around us.
However, even the most casual of observers may have noticed that all is not well. They may have noticed the loss of bees and butterflies from a favourite walk, the disappearance of sparrows from their garden, no salmon jumping in their local river, or the absence of the colourful wildflower meadows of their youth.
Scientists have warned of a catastrophic collapse of nature with a 60% decline in wildlife populations in just over 40 years. Other research shows that dramatic rates of decline may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades.
This is a global problem and Wales is not immune.
The facts on natures’ decline in Wales is overwhelming with
- 1 in 14 species heading for extinction, 57% of wild plants, 60% of butterflies and 40% of birds are in decline
- More than one third of (known) marine vertebrate and plant life has diminished
- 75% of our internationally important European habitats in Wales are in unfavourable condition. The condition of our European species features on sites in Wales remains mostly unfavourable (55%).
- Wales is in the worst 25% for biodiversity loss of the 218 countries assessed globally. Please ask your Assembly Members to act for wildlife.
Today’s picture is like this because our systems and laws that should be keeping nature healthy are failing – both for wildlife and people. As a result, everything is becoming disconnected.
We need to put nature into recovery and we need to do it now.
The Welsh Government is currently drafting the content of a new Countryside Bill. This is why it is crucial that we all join together now to write the next chapter for wildlife. Let’s make the scenes from our version of Wind in the Willows a thing of fiction.
Join us in calling for the Welsh Government to play their part in nature’s recovery
Letter to AM
As you know, a healthy natural environment is vital for our health, wellbeing and prosperity. For more than seven decades, successive domestic (including the Environment Act 2016) and EU laws have aimed to sustain a healthy, wildlife-rich natural world. There is strong, persistent and widespread public support for this, especially among the young. Despite this, the 2016 State of Nature report showed that 56% of species had declined across the UK between 1970 and 2013.
The Welsh Government has now pledged to introduce a Sustainable Land Management Bill in 2019 to underpin its ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation. We support the Government investing in our countryside to increase wildlife in our countryside and the creation of other public goods such as nature-based solutions to climate change and flooding.
However, the proposed changes will not take force until the middle of the next decade. Nature cannot wait that long. Nature is continuing to be lost and we are unlikely to meet our obligations to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020. Many Assembly Members might be Species Champions of extinct species by then.
Therefore, I want the Government to play their part in nature’s recovery by
1. creating a new countryside policy that puts natures recovery at its heart, but in the meantime significantly ratcheting up the support for biodiversity
2. establishing environmental principles in law and a have strong independent statutory environmental watchdog with substantial powers to hold public bodies to account
3. avoiding the loss or weakening of environmental laws after Brexit
4. creating an ambitious statutory targets for natures recovery including restoring all our local, national and international wildlife sites to good condition by 2026
5. delivering well managed marine protected areas
6. creating a Nature Recovery Network which maps out and creates new wild areas and wildlife corridors across the county
7. protecting our air, rivers and wetlands from urban and rural pollution
8. stopping pesticides from harming the foundations of our food webs, our insects
9. connecting people to nature by creating high quality, wildlife friendly, places near where people live
10. integrating environmental stewardship, nature, climate change and outdoor learning as a key part of the new Welsh curriculum.
The Welsh Government Natural Resources Policy states that the “business case for action is proven, investing in our natural resources is cost effective and key to achieving our aim of bringing prosperity to the whole of Wales”.
Investing in the restoration, maintenance and enhancement of our natural world will help Wales to realise major gains economically, socially and of course for our environment.
I want to be part of a world which values its environment. I want you to help make that a reality.