With a third of Surrey’s wildlife in decline or extinct, Surrey Wildlife Trust welcomed seven Surrey MPs to walk in nature reserves in their constituencies so they could experience first-hand a local place where wildlife is thriving and how this can be mapped out to wider areas across the county and UK as part of the Environment Bill.
The Wildlife Trusts movement believes Nature Recovery Networks are vital to the new laws being introduced by the government as part of the Environment Bill and are key to transforming habitats for invertebrate, insect, bird and mammal life for a #WilderFuture and #WilderSurrey.
The benefits of Nature Recovery Network targets extend beyond wildlife to the health and well-being of people and local communities too. MPs including Sir Paul Beresford MP for Mole Valley, Crispin Blunt MP for Reigate, Michael Gove MP for Surrey Heath, Chris Grayling MP for Epsom and Ewell, Sam Gyimah MP for East Surrey, Jeremy Hunt MP for South West Surrey and Jonathan Lord MP for Woking reported the feel good benefits of walking in nature during what has been one of the most challenging periods in politics in recent history.
Surrey Wildlife Trust showed MPs its work on nature reserves, with ecologists, volunteers, and neighbouring landowners to enhance habitats for wildlife. Across the county, Surrey Wildlife Trust is creating a network of connecting grassland, heathland, wetland and woodland habitats for wildlife to thrive.
Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, chief executive of Surrey Wildlife Trust, said:
‘Just as Surrey commuters need a reliable road and transport network to thrive, wildlife needs a reliable hedgerow, river and green corridor network that supports its freedom to move, mate, feed and breed. In the Government’s manifesto it committed to being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it found it. Well here’s its chance. Mapping Nature Recovery Networks and protecting them by law could help achieve their manifesto claims.’
The Wildlife Trusts believe that so far the Environment Bill is not good enough. Accepting a weak Environment Bill will not achieve recovery of wildlife. The EU and European Court of Justice have ensured that the UK has cleaned up its rivers, seas and protected key wildlife sites for decades. Now the UK must go above and beyond these protections. A powerful independent watchdog is essential. At present the proposed green watchdog in the Environment Bill is too weak because the government sets its budget and appoints many of its members.