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All political parties must give a lead on the environment


3 min read Partner content

WWF-UK has called on all political parties to take a strong leadership role in ensuring that the environment is a key consideration in policy making.

Designed for consideration by political parties as they create their own manifestos, the WWF-UK ‘asks’ include three main priorities that it sees as vital for inclusion by parties in their pitch to voters.

The proposals also reflect the joined up thinking in WWF-UK’s recent report. ‘A Greener Budget’ which shows how being better stewards of the environment can generate growth, well-being, and safeguard us against risk. There is a huge opportunity here for the next government to lead the way.

The next government can:

Save the world’s forests and wildlife; A simple enough request, but we know exactly how difficult is it to achieve. The government could close the loopholes that still allow illegal wood products to be sold in Europe, and insist that crimes against wildlife - such as butchering elephants for ivory - are treated as the serious offences they are.

Build a clean, 21st century economy – and do what we promised on climate change. Lack of knowledge isn’t the problem here – the scientific consensus on climate change is overwhelming. The next government can confirm solid commitments and targets for slashing our greenhouse gas emissions. It can also be serious and ambitious about backing renewable energy and make energy efficiency of homes our national infrastructure priority, and promote and support sustainable development at home and abroad.

Make sure the UK has healthy rivers and seas. We’re an island nation, and it rains a lot – but we haven’t done as good a job as we should have of looking after the natural resources this gives us. The next government can create a coherent network of protected areas in the seas around the UK – safeguarding some of our most precious wildlife, prevent too much water being taken from our rivers, and restore damaged ones to health.

Ben Stafford, head of public affairs at WWF-UK explains further:

“Whatever its political make-up, the next government needs to be the greenest ever. We often hear about the threats to the environment – nationally and globally – but there are also real opportunities for the new government to take actions that will improve quality of life, boost economic growth at home and safeguard spectacular places and species overseas.

“It also makes political sense for political parties to be strong on the environment. Millions of people in the UK are members and supporters of environmental organisations like WWF. In a close election, environmental votes could make the difference.”

These ‘asks’ follow the recent launch of ‘A Greener Budget: sustaining our prosperity in a changing world’, in which WWF-UK outlined its vision for a better budget, this month and in future budgets.

The manifesto proposals are outlined in detail online and the report ‘A Greener Budget’ is on our website also.

Read the most recent article written by WWF - Make the government machine go green