With the EU Referendum over, the challenges faced by the UK’s wildlife are as great as they have ever been. Wildlife is under real pressure from intensive land use and sometimes insensitive development on land and at sea. Our lives are becoming more remote from the natural world.
It is time to focus on the future of our natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife. To concentrate on what a healthy natural environment can do for us and what we must do for it.
The country needs to move on from the EU Referendum and unite behind a vision for a brighter future for our wonderful wildlife and future generations. Whether young or old, privileged or marginalised, and irrespective of our cultural, religious, ethnic and political backgrounds, we all depend on a healthy natural environment and have a role to play in making it a reality.
Our politicians need to know that, now the UK’s relationship with the EU has been decided, people who care for wildlife want to see changes for the better.
The Wildlife Trusts are working to create a Living Landscape and to secure Living Seas. Our vision paints a positive and optimistic picture of what can be achieved in partnership, and it is more important than ever that we work together to make it a reality.
The EU has left a legacy of strong environmental legislation and invested in many practical projects. Together, these have reduced the rate of wildlife losses and begun to reverse the fortunes of some of our wildlife. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that the benefits for wildlife that we have seen inside the EU are not lost through deregulation or a lack of international cooperation.
Throughout the EU Referendum campaign, those who promoted leaving the EU said that funding will not be reduced for wildlife friendly farming and that wildlife protection will be strengthened in an independent country. It is now time for all those involved in the past few months’ debates to honour their commitments and to build a better future for our wildlife, wild places and for the people who enjoy and depend on them every day.
As we are now responsible for our own, independent future, it is up to all of us to make sure that it is a good one for the natural world.
Photograph: Rutland Water Nature Reserve is a Special Protection Area under the EU's Birds Directive
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