7th August 2023

Retained EU Law Bill: What next?

Despite widespread concern and criticism, the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill is now an Act of Parliament. Thank you to everyone who wrote to their MP regarding the REUL Bill, we know of at least 116 MPs who were contacted by you. Unfortunately, the REUL amendments were withdrawn in the final REUL debate in the House of Lords after the government made it clear that they would oppose them again.

As a result of the Act, it is now easier for present and future governments to weaken or remove legal protection of species, habitats, and the environment with limited consultation and without appropriate parliamentary scrutiny. Legal protection of bats and their roosts have played an important part in helping many bat species to start recovering from significant historical declines. The Act could be used to undermine bat, and other wildlife, protection and cause harm to the environment more widely.

But what can we do now the Bill has passed? We will need to make sure that repeated promises made by government ministers that they will not use the Bill to weaken environmental protections are kept, but beyond that there is a general election on the horizon.

Nature 2030

Over 80 conservation charities have come together to create the Nature 2030 campaign.

Nature 2030 consists of five pledges to put a stop to nature’s decline. In the run up to the next general election (which must happen before January 2025), Nature 2030 asks that all major political parties put these pledges in their manifestos.

Anyone can support this campaign, wherever you are based. Although Nature 2030 focuses on English mechanisms, we believe the principles apply across the whole of the UK. So, no matter where you live, we encourage you to support it. We want to see the UK Government commit to the five asks in England and work closely with Welsh and Scottish governments to secure nature’s recovery across the UK.

How to support the campaign

To support Nature 2030, you can sign an online, open letter to all UK political parties asking them to sign up to these pledges.

Five pledges to restore nature

Here is an overview of the five pledges, if you want more detail go to Wildlife and Countryside Link’s website.

A pay rise for nature. Farmers need greater support to help nature and manage over 70% of UK land – we want to see double the current budget for nature-friendly farming.

Make polluters pay. Big business contributes to nature’s decline and should contribute to nature’s recovery.

A Public Nature Estate. Just 3% of the land and 8% of English waters are protected for nature. We want rapid action to expand and improve protected areas.

A National Nature Service. A National Nature Service would create thousands of green jobs as well as a healthier society.

A right to a healthy environment. Limited access to nature and pollution in the air and water affects everyone’s health. An Environmental Rights Bill would drive better decisions for nature and improve public health.

How Nature 2030 will help bats

As well as securing nature recovery, Nature 2030 targets will improve the economy and human health. Our vision is a world where bats and people thrive together, and the five pledges done well can be a step towards realising that goal.

For example, with farms making up 70% of UK land, policies that help farmers support nature will benefit the many bat species which depend on healthy thriving agricultural landscapes. More protected spaces will increase habitats for bats to live in and link up their foraging routes. Reduction in water pollution will help the bat species that rely on our rivers and ponds. Better access to green spaces will bring more people into contact with nature, and so grow relationships between people and bats as well as other wildlife.

Who supports this campaign?

Recent research finds that 9 in 10 people think the UK Government does badly on environmental issues. And most of the British public, of all political persuasions, support ambitious new measures to help nature recover by 2030.

A coalition of 80 charities led by Wildlife and Countryside Link Charities, including BCT, the National Trust and the RSPB all support this campaign.

Celebrity backers include Steve Backshall, Chris Packham, Megan McCubbin and Mya-Rose Craig.