Caroline Lucas, Green parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavillion, has today (5 December) launched a New Deal for Nature, an independent report commissioned to inform the Green Party’s policies on nature and stimulate debate on the future of UK wildlife.
The report, which has been written by a group of leading UK conservationists and nature writers, focuses on eight areas, including farming, schools and young people, urban wildlife, the marine environment and biosecurity. Among its 80 recommendations are suggestions for new national parks, with a goal of designating 20 per cent of Britain as a national park, and for all farmers to be paid to devote a minimum of 15 per cent of their land to nature.
With regard to schools and young people, the report suggests that all primary schools should deliver one hour a day outdoor learning and each primary school in the UK should be twinned with a farm.
Launching the report at The Linnean Society in central London, Lucas also outlined the Green Party’s commitments on nature, explaining that the party’s manifesto has more than 70 proposals dedicated to nature and wildlife.
The party’s pledges include a 10-year transition to agro-ecological farming, more outdoor learning and the introduction of a GCSE in Natural History to encourage better knowledge and understanding of nature.
The manifesto also includes proposals for a new Sustainable Economy Act, which will set legally-binding targets for biodiversity, soil health and water quality.
With the 2019 State of Nature report revealing that 41 per cent of species in the UK have declined since 1970, Lucas stressed the urgency of the situation: “We are not only running out of time on the climate emergency, there’s also little time left to reverse the catastrophic decline in nature and wildlife. This election has to mark a turning point and the moment when people vote for nature.”
“Other parties still ignore the fundamental economic and infrastructure changes we need to truly protect the natural world. We’re looking ahead to what’s being called the ‘2020 super year’ for nature and climate with crucial international summits taking place.
“Yet we’re also looking at a Johnson Brexit deal that is even worse for the environment and nature than the May hard-Brexit deal. Now more than ever, we need more Green MPs to stand up for wildlife and put the wellbeing of people and nature first across all policy making.”
Commenting on the report, Michael McCarthy, Former Environment Editor at The Independent and author of ‘The Moth Snowstorm – Nature and Joy’, said: “The terrible destruction of British wildlife over the last half century has only just begun to dawn on the public in the last five years, and it has still barely touched the political agenda.
“So it is hugely heartening to see the Greens commission a report which explicitly addresses this tragedy, and suggests the political measures necessary for the recovery of our lost birds, butterflies and wild flowers, as well as the other steps needed for our part of the natural world to regain its health. This issue affects us all, every citizen, indeed every voter. It may not decide the election, but thank God the Greens are pushing it up the agenda, which is where it needs to be.”
You can read the report in full on Caroline Lucas' personal website.