9th February 2024

A recent submission of evidence by Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into racism and the environmental emergency has been misunderstood and misrepresented by certain sectors of the media who have used segments of the evidence submitted, without providing the full context. The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) supported the WCL submission which can be read in full here. Contrary to what has been stated by some news outlets, the evidence submission does not label the countryside as a racist or colonial space. BCT does not see the countryside in that way either.

Many people of all backgrounds enjoy accessing nature and most are welcoming of that diversity. But for some from black and minority populations this isn’t the case. The WCL evidence acknowledges historical legacies which can create perceptions and barriers that prevent some people of colour from accessing nature and the outdoors which includes getting involved in wildlife conservation. It also details racist comments and attitudes that some people from diverse populations continue to experience when accessing nature.

We want more people to perceive nature, and bat conservation in particular, as something they can take part in and benefit from. At BCT we are committed to making sure everyone has that opportunity. Anti-oppression training is one way that we can raise awareness of the lived experience of people from all sorts of backgrounds. Understanding the barriers that some people experience because of their age, gender, disability, sexuality, race, religion or other characteristics enables our staff to embed inclusive and equitable practice into the way we work.

The WCL evidence submitted to the APPG enquiry starts with the following statement: “Nature is essential to all people’s future: so we must ensure that our policy recommendations ensure that all people have the right to a healthy natural environment, all people must have access to nature (e.g., high-quality accessible green and blue spaces nearby, public rights of way), and all people must be empowered to connect with nature and play a meaningful role in restoring and protecting the environment around them to address the ecological and climate crisesThis statement reflects our own values and aspirations. Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Values are available here.