25th June 2020

The Time is NOW - Mass Virtual Lobby for a Green Recovery

A year ago, many of you took part in the The Time is Now mass lobby of parliament – thank you for speaking up for our vision of a world rich in wildlife where bats and people thrive together. The focus then was to call for a strong and ambitious Environment Act (https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/biodiversity-policy-advocacy/the-time-is-now-mass-lobby). The Environment Bill is still on the government’s agenda, but the pandemic has meant it is not yet clear how they will move the legislation forward.

As we build back from the current crisis, we have the opportunity to have a green recovery, and create a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackles climate change along with nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable. We can’t let this moment for change pass us by and wait for new crises to hit.

We want to make sure that whatever steps the government decided to take with the Environment Bill, it benefits people, the environment and wildlife, including of course bats. That is why we are asking you to join us in a second, virtual The Time is Now mass lobby of MPs on 30 June.

The mass lobby involves getting as many people as possible to contact their MP’s. You can find out more about the next steps, including an email template for contacting your MP and information about the headlines for a green recovery here (https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/thetimeisnow). We will be focusing on asking MPs to get the government to commit to world leading targets for nature’s restoration and increased access to green and wild spaces for all communities. Many of you have already contacted your MP about the Environment Bill, and this is an opportunity to continue that conversation with them. Even if you have not contacted your MP before or not had a response to previous emails/letters – do not let that put you off. This is an unprecedented opportunity so it is more important than ever before that our political representatives hear our voices.

If you get the chance to speak to your MP at the lobby, we recommend giving as many local examples as you can where possible. You will have a better idea of these, but below are some generic points relating to bats that you might also find useful when you are talking about the nature elements of a green recovery.

  • 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 along with conservation action is having a positive impact. Any weakening of legislation is in danger of undermining one of the few conservation successes in the UK. The government’s Environment Bill needs to build on this success and include ambitious measurable targets, rather than potentially undo all of the conservation efforts over the last 20 years.
  • The Environment Bill is an important mechanism to tackle the extinction crisis we face. Within the Bill there are proposals for Nature Recovery Networks and these are crucial for mobile species such as bats. However, development of these networks needs investment from government. They must be planned strategically to benefit both wildlife and people and must be integrated at a local level in the same way housing and other developments are.
  • Wildlife and Countryside Link has submitted to treasury a list of environmental project proposals. If the Government invests in these projects, it can boost the programme of improvement set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, as well creating employment quickly, saving billions of pounds for the NHS, levelling up health and livelihoods, and guarding our economy against future natural disasters. Examples of projects are the legacy of Back from the Brink, a project in its final year, aimed at saving 20 rare species from extinction (including the grey long-eared bat) and benefiting over 200 more, and a new bat project which will build connectivity for wildlife in urban areas, at the same time as engaging new audiences.
  • Trade deals going forward must maintain or improve environmental standards in a way that will benefit responsible farmers, the health of consumers and wildlife conservation. For example, irresponsible use of agro-chemicals harms bats and people alike.
  • People as well as wildlife depend on a healthy environment. Bat species make up a third of the UK’s mammal species and are an indicator of the environment we all rely on in both urban and rural settings.

There are over 140 organisations from across the charitable sector involved in The Time is Now virtual lobby. This includes voices such as the Women's Institute and Oxfam as well as all the major wildlife conservation charities. These organisations represent over 22 million people but it’s your individual stories told to your political representatives that will make the real impact. Please share your stories with us too: let us know when you have contacted your MP and share their responses with us. The best email to copy in or send these to is: comms@bats.org.uk

This is an opportunity to bring about real meaningful change that will benefit people, the environment, and all wildlife, including bats – please join us at this critical time

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