The BCT have sent round this urgent call for everyone to email their MP before 26th Feb 2020 to help Bat Protection.
We have written on behalf of the Group to all five Somerset MP’s, and urge everyone to do the same individually at this CRITICAL time for bats:
- Bridgwater and West Somerset – Mr Liddell-Grainger – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Somerton and Frome – David Warburton – email@example.com
- Taunton Deane – Rebecca Pow – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wells – James Heappey – email@example.com
- Yeovil – Mr Fysh – firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 2nd March, we received a reply from Wells MP, James Heappey, today. Unfortunately he did not address the concerns that BCT raised. Click here to view the Wells MP reply to SBG
The Environment Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 26 February 2020 at 12.00 pm.
We need your help to make sure that the Bill helps to protect bats and their habitats. We need you to email your MP urgently with the text below which is also available to DOWNLOAD FROM HERE. Please feel free to adapt or personalise it.
You can find your MPs email address (and other contact details) here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Do please copy us in on email@example.com
Thank you for your help
The Bat Conservation Trust
EXAMPLE TEMPLATE EMAIL FOR MPS – DO PLEASE AMEND, ADD OR DELETE CONTENT AS YOU SEE FIT
Subject line: Please speak up for bats on Wednesday 26 February 2020
I am writing to ask you to attend the second reading of the Environment Bill on Wednesday and speak in support of a strong and effective bill that will protect important wildlife including bats.
Bats are a vital part of our native wildlife, accounting for almost a third of all mammal species in the UK and occupy a wide range of habitats, such as wetlands, woodlands, farmland, as well as urban areas. They are excellent indicators for the wider health of the UK’s wildlife and ultimately the environment we all benefit from.
Data collected by the Bat Conservation Trust shows that some of the UK’s bat species are showing signs of recovery after large population declines in the last century. This suggests that our current legislation is having a positive impact. The government’s Environment Bill should build on this success rather than potentially undo all of the conservation efforts over the last 20 years.
If the government is serious about its often repeated verbal and written commitments to maintaining, and indeed enhancing, environmental standards, why does the bill not enshrine our current environmental standards in law? A robust legal commitment is essential, and would reassure me that this government is serious about its promises to protect the environment and our precious wildlife.
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 extinction crisis we face. 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 at the local level in the same way housing and other developments are.
2. Strong biodiversity duty that delivers for bat conservation. The Bill should have an explicit requirement for public bodies to “maintain and enhance biodiversity” rather than simply take “regard for” wildlife.
The current proposals for environmental principles are weak and ineffective. The principles will only apply to Government Ministries and they only have to have due regard for them in their policies. Tried and tested environmental principles need to be enshrined into our own legislation and they should guide all Government policy and behaviour, and apply to all public bodies.
3. If bats and other wildlife, along with the environment, 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 includes a proposal for an Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) but it has concerning limitations.
- Under current proposals the OEP will still be under the control of the UK government, with appointments and funding largely controlled by the Secretary of State. This raises concerns as to whether the body can therefore be truly independent and hold the government to account.
- There is no sense of urgency as to when the OEP will be in force.
- Government ministers appear to be exempt from co-operation with the OEP investigations – the OEP should be able to investigate without limitations.
- The Government response to reports from OEP on Environmental Improvement Plans (12 months) is too long and should be much shorter so that effective measures can be swiftly put in to place.
- Lastly, the definition of environmental law is narrow and excludes other areas especially land use planning that can directly impact on the environment, wildlife and people.
I would be grateful if you could highlight these points in the debate on Wednesday 26 February, 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.
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