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Surrey Wildlife Trust Urges Supporters to Oppose Government ‘Attack On Nature’  

Published on: 2 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 4 Oct, 2022

Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) is urging supporters to contact their MP and voice opposition to government plans, calling the proposals to reform the UK’s planning, agriculture and conservation policies “an attack on nature”.

And despite the current controversy over the chancellor’s mini-budget Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson says she has more emails at the moment on the subject of protecting nature than any other.

A recent YouGov poll said 81 per cent of UK adults believe nature is under threat and needs urgent action to protect and restore it.

The government is thought to be backing away from the Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS).

SWT chief executive Jane Chimbwandira has joined senior figures from the RSPB, National Trust and Wildlife Trusts among others, to warn that abandoning key regulations that protect nature, while creating low-regulation investment zones with few planning restrictions, could decimate wildlife whilst putting precious habitats under threat from bulldozers and concrete.

SWT has also condemned government plans to remove the ban on fracking, putting sites in Surrey at risk of air, water and sound pollution, and plans to drop proposals to help farmers to look after nature and farm more sustainably.  The government wants to return instead to an agricultural subsidy system where farmers are paid subsidies based on how much land they own.

Under the government’s new Retained EU Law Bill, ministers additionally propose to abolish all EU-derived rules as quickly as possible, including the Habitat Directives which protect areas that are rich in threatened plants and animals from development and pollution.

Jane Chimbwandira said: “If we want our economy to grow and prosper over the long term, we must start working with, not against nature – so tearing up the laws that protect our wild places is not the way to improve people’s lives.

“In Surrey, our precious rivers, meadows, woodlands and heathlands provide clean air, water and food as well as an enormous boost to the quality of life for people of all backgrounds and incomes.  It is heartbreaking that the government proposes a free-for-all for frackers, polluters and developers, while abandoning plans to reward farmers for protecting and promoting nature.”

A spokesperson for the Wildlife Trusts across Britain is said to be reminding MPs and ministers that the Conservative government was elected in 2019 on a manifesto pledge to deliver the “most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth” and that the weakening of vital environmental protections is a complete abandonment of that promise.

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.”

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Responses to Surrey Wildlife Trust Urges Supporters to Oppose Government ‘Attack On Nature’  

  1. Sue Hackman Reply

    October 3, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Anyone who thinks that politics is about committees and the media circus need look no further for evidence that it is about everyday life and values.

    Protections which took decades to win are being abandoned in favour of untrammelled development and the vicissitudes of the market.

    Your fields can be fracked, your effluent can be pumped into rivers (yes, even the Wey) and the green belt can be repurposed for office blocks. This is “free enterprise” at its worst. Support Surrey Wildlife Trust.

    Sue Hackman is a member of Guildford Labour

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    October 4, 2022 at 6:58 am

    It would be nice if Surrey Wildlife Trust would lead by example. It is better at issuing press releases than at actually saving the countryside.

    Notably, SWT and Surrey County Council went along with Guildford Borough Council’s demand that the Site of Nature Conservation Importance designation be removed from almost the entirety of the former Wisley airfield.

    At the time, the officials salved their consciences by writing that they would oppose future applications for development. Have they?
    It appears that the key person has taken his pension and retired.

  3. V Smith Reply

    October 7, 2022 at 7:13 am

    Sorry SWT but we need gas and electricity to keep our civilization going and with the current world crisis fracking seems a sensible option. I may not be alone in considering the cancellation of my membership of SWT in order to use the money to pay my fuel bill instead.

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