Wildlife and Habitats

Page updated:

Inserted October 2021

Introduction

WH001 The Green Party holds a vision of human society living in harmony with nature [PB102]. To achieve this, nature needs to be protected to allow natural regeneration, so promoting the restoration of biodiversity and reversing the tide of mass extinction and ecosystem destruction.

WH002 Green Party policy for the natural environment is built on three key principles:

  1. The Earth's resources are finite. [PB105, 106]
  2. People, nature and society are interdependent, [PB107, 201, 204] and human wellbeing is interlinked with that of other living creatures.
  3. Securing biological and habitat diversity is necessary to ensure the survival of all life on Earth. [PB205]

WH003 Green Party Policy for the Regeneration of Nature aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • The rights of nature to exist, persist, regenerate and evolve are protected.
  • Threatened and specialised habitats are protected.
  • The benefits of biological diversity are fairly shared with future generations.
  • The Global Commons, including the seas and climate, are protected.
  • UK Commitments to climate and biodiversity treaties are honoured.
  • Damage to nature caused through supply chains is avoided or mitigated.

Policies

Pillar I: Rights and Protections for Nature

Governance

 

 WH100 The Green Party will enact a Rights of Nature Act to recognise that ecosystems have rights [WH003] and to give a voice to nature in law. All current legislation for the protection and conservation of the environment and wildlife will be incorporated under the new Rights of Nature Act. 

 WH101 The Green Party will establish an independent Commission for Nature which will oversee the enforcement of the Rights of Nature Act. This body will incorporate the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

 WH102 The Commission for Nature will set and monitor the delivery of short-, medium- and long-term targets for the regeneration of nature, to be approved by Parliament and sit alongside environmental targets in the Environment Act 2021.  

 WH103 The Secretary of State for the Environment will be required by the Rights of Nature Act to produce and implement a strategy and corresponding budget to achieve the targets set by the Commission for Nature. This strategy will be informed by science and devised in collaboration with devolved governments, local authorities, other government departments, and major NGOs involved in nature conservation.

 WH104 Government agencies and local authorities will be financed and supported to produce regional and local nature regeneration plans to inform the national strategy. Plans will ensure that all of the authority’s areas are supportive of the regeneration of nature, including housing, gardens and commercial property.

 WH105 The structure of government agencies supporting the delivery of the strategy will be reviewed to improve coordination within government and with NGOs, to support a much wider remit, and to make best use of the increased funding and capacity.

 WH106 Regional and local nature regeneration plans will be implemented by local authorities in collaboration with parish and town councils, local NGOs involved in nature conservation, local businesses (including agriculture) and local communities, with representation of citizens. Plans will fulfil the targets set by the Commission for Nature, helping create a nature regeneration network protected by the Rights of Nature Act and recognised in the National Planning Policy Framework.

 

Designated Areas

 

WH120 The current system of site designations will be simplified and funding allocated to secure the protection and regeneration of their biodiversity. These sites will form the nucleus of the nature regeneration network that will enable sustainable and diverse habitats to spread out across all areas of the country. 

WH121 National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONBs] will be reorganised to prioritise the regeneration of nature. New National Parks and AONBs will be designated and incorporated into the nature regeneration network. We will secure local community involvement in the management of these areas by creating democratically-elected positions on management boards. 

 

Legal Protection for Nature

 

WH130 The Green Party will work towards stronger international and national laws for nature, including Ecocide and the Rights of Nature, alongside United Nation conventions, to deter further loss of ecosystems and to create the moral and legal obligations needed to protect nature for future generations and mitigate the effects of climate change.

WH131 The Green Party will step up the fight against wildlife crime by building cooperation between countries and policing networks to achieve effective enforcement and prevention. 

WH132 To reduce domestic wildlife crime a vicarious liability law will be introduced in England and Wales ensuring that landowners are legally responsible for criminal acts against nature on their estates.

WH133 The Green Party will raise funding and legal protection in the British Overseas Territories to further protect the complex and threatened ecosystems they contain.  Conservation and regeneration plans will involve the participation of local and indigenous communities.

WH134 The Green Party will finance and support a robust early warning system and dedicated inspectorate as part of the Invasive Non-Native Species strategy that will cover Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Overseas Territories and build in strong international links. Monitoring and responding to animal and plant pathogens will be included in the strategy. The release of imported species for hunting will be banned.

 

Finance

 

WH140 The Green Party considers that the conservation, protection, and regeneration of nature is a public responsibility, to be funded and delivered by national and local government, acting together. The Green Party does not support the capitalisation of nature for the purpose of raising funds.

WH141 The Green Party will take a 30-year approach to delivering the strategy set out in Pillar II and create a cross-departmental budgetary framework that will be adequate for the work to be undertaken during this timeframe, subject to periodic reviews. 

WH142 The Green Party supports the introduction of a Land Value Tax (LVT). [EC780] Where obligations are placed on landowners to conserve wildlife habitats, the capital value of the land may be assessed as zero or negative, making LVT a subsidy. The Green Party will also retain Land Management Subsidies similar to the existing ELMS (Environment Land Management Scheme) for one off and ongoing subsidies.

WH143 The Green Party will end subsidies to nature-damaging operations.

 

Pillar II:  A Strategy to Regenerate Nature

WH200 The long-term aim of this strategy is to make 100% of land, aquatic and marine areas of the UK and Overseas Territories abundant in wildlife.

WH201 To support the strategy, the Commission for Nature will create a digitally accessible map of all land and aquatic environments to identify the role they can play in protecting and regenerating nature. This will form a baseline for monitoring progress towards targets for regeneration set by the Commission.

WH202 The national strategy will include developing the joined-up nature regeneration network [WH106], incorporating both land and aquatic environments, to allow the movement of species and the regeneration of new habitats. The whole network will have protected status and will be recognised within planning legislation and the Rights for Nature Act, severely limiting any activity that damages nature.

WH203 The strategy will include intensive species-specific recovery actions to enable threatened species to show sustained recovery by 2030, removing the threat of extinctions. These actions will include protecting and enhancing genetic diversity.

WH205 Under the Rights of Nature Act, landowners of protected areas in the nature regeneration network will be required to agree a management plan with Government agencies and local authorities responsible for implementation of the national strategy. 

WH206 The Green Party will phase out intensive and destructive agricultural practices and will replace them with regenerative agro-ecology farming. [FA201] Government funding will support only agricultural practices which deliver public good and benefit to nature [FA203]. Schemes will be monitored and farms will receive enhanced payments for reduction in use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and artificial fertilisers and for increasing wildlife as determined from an accurate baseline compiled by DEFRA.

WH207 The Green Party will require and pay every farmer to devote a minimum of 15% of their land to nature. This land will form corridors across farms to help wildlife move through the landscape. 

WH208 The Green Party will amend the National Planning Policy Framework to require all development, including local and national infrastructure projects, to protect existing nature as well as include regeneration of nature as a component of any development. There will be no offsetting of biodiversity net gain or monetising of nature. [WH140]

WH209 The Commission for Nature will review the impact of recreation, including hunting, shooting and fishing, on biodiversity, where necessary ending or adapting these activities to help regenerate nature.

WH210 Proposals for culling will only be considered if all non-lethal strategies have failed. Rigorous scientific assessment of all possible options will be required to take full account of wider impacts on habitats and species. In the case of the real, alleged or projected spread of disease this would include evaluation of mass vaccination schemes.

WH211 The Green Party will adapt public procurement policies and trade policy to reduce impacts on nature through supply chains. The Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy [BEIS] will be required to work with industry and the retail sector, using regulatory powers and public information campaigns to progressively eliminate unsustainable consumption.

WH212 The Green Party will commission a review of the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers. Pesticides harming pollinators, including neonicotinoids, will be banned. A tax on all these products will deter excess usage and the revenue will be spent on research and development of alternatives. The use of all harmful chemicals in agriculture will be phased out by 2040 to increase the abundance of insects and other wildlife.

 

Pillar III - Rebalance our relationship with nature 

WH300 Green Party policy will aim to bring people and nature closer together to the benefit of both. This will be achieved through education, health and planning policies, and by enabling everyone to have access to natural spaces near to their home and place of work.

WH301 The Green Party will commission research into the barriers faced by black and minority ethnic people and people with mobility difficulties that stop them going to natural spaces, and will act on the conclusions. We will ensure that access is not reliant on car transport and that regular cheap public transport from inner cities to the countryside is available, especially to National Parks and AONBs

WH302 The successful development of policy and its implementation requires consultation with, and the cooperation of, all stakeholders. Funding and support will be provided to citizen groups to enable them to present their views on an equal footing with other interest groups, in line with the Green Party’s policy for direct democracy. [PA102]

WH303 Public engagement will include supporting local nature regenerating initiatives, including rewilding projects, with funding channelled through local authorities and supported by NGOs. To encourage this, free courses and educational opportunities for all will be provided by local authorities, together with incentives and rewards for community initiatives to promote biodiversity.

WH304 Public and private organisations with landholdings will be encouraged to involve staff and other stakeholders in developing and implementing management and monitoring plans that assist the regeneration of nature on their land.

WH305 A new standard and reporting framework will be developed by the Secretary of State for Business to enable company compliance with the Rights of Nature Act, which will include annual reporting of what a company removes and puts back into nature. Through this, companies will be given responsibility to regenerate nature on public and their own landholdings. Companies will be required to train in sustainable and regenerative practices and follow them in developing company policy. [WR616]

WH306 The wider strategy of nature regeneration will be complemented by publicly-accessible green spaces. Revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework will ensure all homes and workplaces are within easy access by foot and personal mobility devices to green spaces, including pocket parks in urban areas.

WH307 The role of nature in helping to improve human health and wellbeing will be recognised through education and medical practice. The Green Party endorses the use of prescriptions for engagement with nature, and will ensure that the Department of Health has the funding to extend schemes across England and Wales.

WH308 The extent of open access land in England and Wales will be progressively increased under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, particularly in lowland England and close to urban areas. Public open spaces and access land will be connected to the national footpath and bridleway network.

WH309 Education policy will place nature at the heart of our education system. The Education Act 2002, Section 78, will be amended so that the national curriculum supports direct experiences of nature through outdoor activities designed to help pupils learn to care for the natural environment. We will promote green care learning opportunities for people of all ages in acknowledgement of the importance of lifelong learning.

WH400 The following chapters contain clauses relevant to the implementation of the Wildlife policy:

Animal Rights

Climate Emergency

Countryside

Economy

Education

Energy

Food & Agriculture

Forestry

Health

Land

Local Planning

Marine

Natural Resources

Pollution

Public Administration

Tourism

Transport

Workers’ Rights

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