Your voice for nature

Nature can’t speak for itself - will you speak up for it? (photo by David Tipling, 2020 Vision)

Our wildlife needs your help now

Nature needs better protection, both here in Norfolk and nationally. Right now we have a chance to do something about this.

The Wildlife Trusts are part of the wider GREENER UK movement, which has convinced Westminster Government of the need for a new law – an Environment Act - to improve protection for our country’s wildlife. But not all politicians are convinced and to make sure the law not only protects wildlife but helps us to recover, we need everyone on board.

MPs will be voting on this soon and we need them to support a strong Environment Act, because a country with more wildlife is better for everyone, wildlife and people.

Our wildlife doesn't have an MP - but you do.  Please arrange a meeting with them if you feel able and help us talk to every MP by Christmas.

The campaign for a wilder future starts here

Critically, we need the Environment Act to give us:

Nature Targets: legal targets for nature's recovery that politicians must ultimately achieve and regularly report on progress towards e.g. safer air to breathe in our cities

A Nature Recovery Network: a joined-up network of habitats that provide enough space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive.

Nature Watchdog: an independent body to help people challenge bad decisions made by Government and councils, which have a negative impact on wildlife and our natural environment.

How would an Environment Act help wildlife in Norfolk?

  1. Improve people’s access to nature, especially in towns and cities

  2. Create new wild areas and wildlife corridors across the county

  3. Keep Norfolk's existing wildlife sites safe from harm

  4. Protect Norfolk's best wildlife habitats under the sea

  5. Stop Norfolk's soils washing away into rivers and the sea  

  6. Improve air quality, especially in Norwich and our towns.

  7. Stop poisoning Norfolk's rivers and streams with chemicals

  8. Reduce emissions that are contributing to climate change

  9. Protect people’s rights to a healthy natural environment

  10. Avoid the loss of environmental protection laws after Brexit.

We need wildlife. Our natural world is valuable in its own right and is the foundation of our wellbeing - we depend on it and it depends on us. Without a healthy natural world the survival of humanity is at stake. By creating more space for nature, we can create a better world for people and wildlife.

Our wildlife here in Norfolk is in trouble. We have lost more than 50% of our ancient woodlands and hedgerows, 75% of our heaths and 95% of our old, species rich, wildflower meadows.

Many much-loved wildflowers including cowslips, ragged robin and orchids have disappeared over large areas of Norfolk reflecting the loss of their habitats. Once widespread arable weeds including cornflowers and corncockle are now extinct in Norfolk as truly wild plants.  

The song of the nightingale is now rarely heard in our county and fewer than half the skylarks and lapwings which commonly bred on farmland across Norfolk survive. Even once widespread, familiar and common breeding species including house sparrows, starlings, common frogs and common toads are no longer common across much of Norfolk’s countryside.

Wildlife needs us. We can make a difference. A new and ambitious Environment Act can help reverse the trend of missing wildlife, setting out a plan for nature's recovery and creating a healthier natural world for us all.

What to expect

MPs want to know what it is you care about. Not only do they want to hear from you, they have a duty to listen - their job is to represent you in Parliament! MPs are generally friendly and open for a chat, but they are pressed for time so don't expect meetings to last too long. Generally appointments will last around 10-15 minutes - so make sure you've got your key messages ready. You might find it helpful to prepare in advance and perhaps even rehearse what you want to say beforehand. It's also important to research who your MP is. Find out what they care about and whether or not they have taken an active interest in the environment before - that way you can go into the meeting fully prepared. You can find a lot of that information here.

All MP surgeries are slightly different, but in most cases you are likely to be sat in a waiting room before your appointment with people from your local area. Once it is your turn, you'll be invited into an office for your chance to persuade your MP why they should be supporting a new law for nature's recovery. You won't regret it (and to your friends, family and potential employees it sounds really impressive - so be sure to let them know!).

How can I make my meeting effective?

Share your story:
MPs love personal stories. Share yours with them, choosing experiences that have taken place in your local area and meant a lot to you. This way you can show your MP how much the natural environment in your area matters. Perhaps there are some moments shared with your Wildlife Trust or events you've attended that stand out? Can you think how even more wildlife in your area would help to improve it?

Have a clear ask: 
To make your meeting as successful as possible, make sure you have some clear things to ask your MP to do for you. For example, you could ask them to write to their Party Leader e.g. Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, and their environment team to support an ambitious Environment Act for all the reasons shared above. You can also ask them what they think they can do to help make this happen too!

Don’t worry if you’re not an expert: 
It’s your MP’s job to listen to you and you will probably know far more than them - just be passionate about the issue.

Take a photo:
Ask your MP if you can take a photo with them - this is a great way to let others know that people have been speaking to them about nature’s recovery, and to encourage them to do the same. MPs often like the publicity too!

Next steps

Following up with your MP is a good way to keep your meeting fresh in their mind – sending them a quick ‘thank you’ email with the photo is a nice way of doing this.

It might also help to take brief notes on what was said in the meeting so you can remind them of anything they have committed to and hold them to it.

Take a photo of your MP holding one of these posters! You can share it online with us: we are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Posters to take to your MP

   MP-poster-access-to-nature Download   
   MP-poster-independent-watchdog Download   
   MP-poster-Nature-Recovery-Networks Download   
   MP-poster-set-targets-for-recovery Download   
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Corn Bunting David Tipling 2020VISION Yes I'll ask my MP to support a strong Environment Act