Update from the BCT on 8th Nov
“Thank you for supporting our Environment Bill campaign. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to email their MP and forward their response to us. If you have received a reply and haven’t yet forwarded it, please do send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.The general election means that the Environment Bill will need to be reintroduced to our next Parliament. It is difficult at this stage to know when this might happen – we’ll let you know as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, we would really like to know if you were able to email your MP in the very short time available.The general election means we have to pause our campaign for a while, but you can continue to speak up for bats and other wildlife by contacting your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPC) and asking them how they will protect bats in your local area if they become your MP. You can email your PPCs, attend a hustings or ask them a question directly if you’re canvassed by them or their representatives. However you get in touch, the run up to the election is a great opportunity to raise bat conservation issues in your local area with them. We’ll also send you some key questions you can ask them about the environmental commitments in their manifestos soon, so keep an eye on your emails.Bat Conservation Trust”
The following received from the BCT on 25th Oct 2019:
“PLEASE EMAIL YOUR MP TO HELP BAT CONSERVATION
We have recently found out that the Environment Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday 28th of October at 2.30pm.
We need your help to make sure that the Bill helps to protect bats and their habitats. Please email your MP urgently with the following text:
Feel free to adapt or personalise the message and don’t forget to add your MP’s name and your address details (highlighted in yellow).
You can find your MPs email address (and other contact details) here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Please let us know if your MP replies and what they say by emailing email@example.com.
Thank you for your help.
Bat Conservation Trust”
Text of the suggested email below:
“Subject line: Please speak up for bats on Monday 28 October
I am writing to ask you to attend the second reading of the Environment Bill on Monday and speak in support of a strong and effective bill that will protect bats and other important wildlife as we leave the European Union.
Data collected by the Bat Conservation Trust shows that some of the UK’s bat species are showing signs of recovery after great historic declines. This suggests that our current legislation is having a positive impact. The government’s Environment Bill has the potential to undo all of our conservation efforts over the last 20 years if it does not maintain current standards.
The Bat Conservation Trust, which I am a supporter of, has identified three key areas where the Bill is currently not fit-for-purpose to adequately protect bats and other wildlife.
1. The Bill identifies Nature Recovery Strategies as a mechanism to tackle the decline in wildlife. This is an improvement on current approaches, and is crucial for bat conservation. However for this mechanism to be effective, these strategies must be deliverable and not just descriptive. They need to inform and be integrated into local authority strategic development plans in the same way housing and other developments are planned for.
2. Strong biodiversity duty that delivers for bat conservation
The inclusion of the improved section 40 NERC duty on biodiversity to public bodies in the Bill will greatly help to restore, maintain and conserve bat populations.
However the current proposals for environmental principles are weak and ineffective. The principles will only apply to Ministers of the Crown and they only have to have due regard for them in their policies. The core environmental principles that have formed the basis of EU policy need to be enshrined into our own legislation and they should guide all Government policy and behaviour, and apply to all public bodies. Leaving the EU will mean removing these current environmental principles from those bodies and it will therefrom be a retrograde step so it is vital that there is non-regression when UK leaves the EU.
3. If bats and other wildlife are to be properly protected for future generations, then an effective watchdog or regulator that is appropriately funded and staffed is essential. It is good to see that the Bill’s includes a proposal for an Office for Environmental Protection but it has concerning limitations.
It is good to read the proposals for the Office for Environmental Protection, but I have the following observations to make:
- There is no sense of urgency as to when the OEP will be in force.
- Ministers of the Crown appear to be exempt from co-operation with the OEP investigations – the OEP should be able to investigate the Crown where necessary.
- The Government response to reports from OEP on Environmental Improvement Plans (12 months) is too long and should be no longer than 4 months.
- Lastly, the definition of environmental law is narrow and excludes other areas especially land use planning that indirectly impacts on the environment.
I would be grateful if you could highlight these points in the debate on Monday, and support future amendments to the Environment Bill that will make it fit for purpose to protect bats and other wildlife in our local community for generations to come. I appreciate your taking the time to read this request and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Full address including postcode”