Our open letter was sent to Sarah Dines MP, and Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, on 28 September 2022
Dear Sarah Dines/Barry Lewis
We are writing to urge you to do all you can to put a stop to the UK Government’s attack on the natural world.
Tideswell & District Environment Group are a local community group with around 160 members, living in Tideswell and surrounding villages, who want to do our bit to help improve the local and global environment.
We are deeply concerned that The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, National Trust and others have warned that recent announcements made by the Government represent an attack on the natural world and a withdrawal from manifesto commitments to reverse declines in our biodiversity and achieve reductions in carbon emissions.
These announcements include:
- The wholesale removal, by 2023, of all EU legislation that currently protects or enhances the natural environment, via the proposed Retained EU Law Bill
- The setting up of 38 ‘Investment Zones‘ with the intention to “release more land for housing and commercial development, and to support accelerated development. The need for planning applications will be minimised and where planning applications remain necessary, they will be radically streamlined.” We note the proposal to designate one of these investment zones in Derbyshire.
- The likely abolition of the Environmental Land Management Scheme, which was to support our local farmers to grow food whilst reducing carbon emissions and enhancing wildlife, and its replacement with a retrograde land subsidy policy unrelated to the protection or enhancement of biodiversity.
New planning and infrastructure law and the proposed new ‘investment zones’ represent the weakening of protections that safeguard our already beleaguered wildlife. This is in addition to the new Retained EU Law Bill, where the Government threatens to tear up the basic wildlife protections we’ve relied upon for years.
Reversing plans to support nature-friendly farming was an important pledge in the Government’s manifesto. Returning to an agricultural system where farmers are paid with taxpayers’ money based on how much land they own is unfair and unsustainable. This represents a missed opportunity to help farmers reduce their carbon emissions and will be devastating for nature.
The UK Government is dismissing planning and environmental protections as ‘red tape’, yet our economy depends upon everything that nature provides – from food production to clean air and water, and so much more. A commitment to deregulation, which allows developers to get away with trashing our most important wildlife sites and polluters to poison our rivers with more sewage, will only damage our country and economy.
The Conservative Government was elected in 2019 on a manifesto pledge to deliver the “most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth”. The weakening of these vital environmental protections is a 180 degree U-turn on that promise, for which the Government has no mandate.
We hope you also feel it is crucially important to defend nature, by doing all you can to urge the Prime Minister and the Government to put a stop to this attack and instead ramp up action to protect our wildlife, our climate, and our futures.
As local constituents, we are very interested in your views on these recent announcements, and we would be delighted to learn about any action you feel able to take to address our concerns.
Sue Barber (Chair, Tideswell & District Environment Group)
TDEG Postal address – Brookbank, Queen Street, Tideswell, SK17 8PF