Climate, countryside and wildlife protection under threat

baby hedgehog

Photograph by Alexander Olm

On Monday, The Guardian newspaper revealed that the government might scrap vital laws which protect wildlife and the countryside and help stop climate change. 278 regulations designed to protect wildlife, tackle pollution, protect the countryside, and reduce climate change have been branded ‘red tape’ by a new government consultation, “The Red Tape Challenge”.

The government says it wants to “free up business and society from the burden of excessive regulation”. But included in the list of regulations under review are very important laws such as the UK Climate Change Act, National Parks Act, Clean Air Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. These aren’t little-known laws that no one cares about. The Wildlife and Countryside Act protects wild birds, their nests and eggs, and makes sure that national parks and marine reserves are protected. The UK’s Climate Change Act was a world first which helps make sure we reduce our emissions.

The Red Tape Challenge website makes it clear that if we want to protect these laws, we need to speak out:

“Once you’ve had your say, Ministers will have three months to work out which regulations they want to keep and why. But here’s the most important bit – the default presumption will be that burdensome regulations will go. If Ministers want to keep them, they have to make a very good case for them to stay.”

John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace, has said of these proposals:

“David Cameron needs to come out and say the Climate Change Act, central to the push for a clean technology revolution, is safe from the axe. But if ministers are serious about scrapping it and other vital environmental regulations then we’ll be looking at something akin to the worst excesses of the Bush-Cheney White House.”

 

Friends of the Earth commented:

“News in today’s Guardian that all of the UK’s environment law is going to be reviewed is extremely alarming”

In the past, David Cameron has made headlines promising to run “the greenest government ever”. We need to convince him that scrapping these laws would be a disaster for his reputation. A huge petition will prove to Cameron that he can’t afford to break his green promises.

We know that when we work together we can make sure the government doesn’t get away with plans which could hurt the environment. When they decided to try to sell off our forests, over half a million of us got together and convinced them to drop their plans.

The government says it wants to hear what we think before scrapping these laws – so let’s give them a consultation response they can’t ignore! Please help make sure we have a huge petition telling the government to keep laws which protect our wildlife and our environment.