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Nature: This general election's missing issue?

Last modified: 18 March 2015

Lapwing - adult female in breeding habitat pasture

Image: Andy Hay

The National Trust, RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts are calling on people across the West Country to put nature at the heart of debate in the run up to May’s General Election and encourage candidates to support nature.

Together the three charities have produced South West Nature 2015 - a new website that details landscapes, wildlife and the issues these face, across all 55 Westminster constituencies in the south west.

Speaking for the partnership, Harry Barton (CEO of Devon Wildlife Trust) said; “Nature is the missing issue from this general election. We need greater political commitment to nature’s recovery and fundamental changes in how we value, use and interact with nature. This is as relevant to the stunning wildlife we have in our seas as it is to our internationally famous landscapes. What happens in the next parliament, and the decisions our elected representatives make, are going to be crucial to the nature we cherish and depend on.”

"The charities are encouraging people to visit the website – - or to find it on their local Wildlife Trust website, and discover the big nature issues where they live, then ask their local parliamentary candidates to show that they care about nature and that they will work individually and within their party to look after wildlife and natural spaces"

Sarah O’Brien, South West External Affairs Advisor speaking for the National Trust said: “The South West has some of the country’s most stunning landscapes and richest habitats, all surrounded by our world class coastline. Our natural environment is important in its own right, but it also underpins our economy, health and our wellbeing. Yet nature is in decline. It is vital that we halt this decline and secure nature’s recovery in a generation, not only for its own sake, but for what it does for us.”

Simon Brenman speaking for The SW Wildlife Trusts said: “Our environment is under more pressure than ever before. The State of Nature report published in 2013 found that 60% of UK species we know about are in decline and many of the “free”, but invaluable, services provided by nature are under threat, such as pollination, resilience to flooding, clean water supply, and food production.”

The charities, who have the support of hundreds of thousands of people, say that nature is crucial to our economy, health and wellbeing.

Mark Robins, speaking for the RSPB in the South West said; “The West Country trades on the relative quality of its natural environment. It’s one of the principle reasons why people choose to live, work and do business here.”

“But we need leadership, not only to commit to the recovery of nature, but also to make the most of the opportunities a thriving natural environment provides for healthier and more prosperous communities”.

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