General Election 2019

General Election 2019

Mark Hamblin/2020Vision

Whatever colour of government we have following the general election, Shropshire Wildlife Trust believes that there are serious environmental pressures that it will need to urgently address:

  • The climate crisis is upon us.  We demand this is treated as the most pressing emergency facing the whole of humankind
  • A new Environment Act is needed to halt the continued and catastrophic loss of wildlife.  This needs to be adequately resourced and regulated
  • Declining physical and mental health is exacerbated by poor public connection to the natural world. All new development must include high quality, accessible greenspace

 

We are asking prospective parliamentary candidates the following questions.  If they knock on your door, perhaps you could ask them too.

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?
  2. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?
  3. What will you do to ensure that proposed development supports high quality, publicly accessible greenspace?

We will be publishing the parliamentary candidates responses to these questions on this page. 

Download the letter we sent to all prospective candidates below

Responses

North Shropshire

Graeme Currie, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate

The Labour Party has put the Environment and the Climate Emergency at the forefront of its campaign in this General Election. A Labour Government will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the Climate Emergency by shifting to renewable energy, investing in rail and electric cars, and making housing energy efficient, to reduce fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

 The Labour government’s Green Industrial Revolution is complemented by our Plan for Nature. Our commitments to ecosystem repair and environmental protections work hand in hand with sustainable jobs and industries, and social justice.

A Labour Government would introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill setting out in law robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection. A Labour government will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.

If elected as an MP I would look forward to working with Shropshire Wildlife Trust on all these issues locally.  

 I hope this information is helpful.

The Tories have broken Britain, they cannot be trusted to fix it.

Please Vote Labour on December 12th. 

Yours sincerely,

Graeme Currie

John Adams, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

The climate emergency must be the overwhelming priority for the next government. The Green party will create a new department at the heart of government, overseen by a Carbon Chancellor to implement a Green New Deal.  This will rapidly replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources; reduce energy demand through building insulation; retrofit homes with renewable heating systems; implement sustainable transport systems to reduce car use; decarbonise industry; and plant 700 million new trees which will sequester carbon and create new wildlife rich environments. We will create a new Environmental Protection Commission to enforce environmental protections. Our carbon tax will ensure the polluter pays. We plan a new Ecocide law to prevent crimes against the natural environment, a new Clean Air Act and a new Sustainable Economy Act to include biodiversity standards. Funding for the Environment Agency and Natural England would be increased to support their vital environmental protection work. We will introduce an English Climate Emergency Education Act to support teaching about climate and environmental crises.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

We plan a 10 year transition to more sustainable farming systems that restore ecosystem health and the quality of our soils and rivers. We will use a combination of subsidies, regulation and education to achieve this. Funding for soil conservation and restoration will enhance carbon sequestration as well as support increased populations of plant and animal species. This will also enable a reduction in use of harmful crop protection products to 50% by 2022. We will encourage replanting of hedgerows to create new environments for wildlife, protected by regulation. We will maintain a moratorium on the use of GMO’s. Planning system changes will encourage rewilding spaces to provide new wildlife habitats.

  1. What will you do to ensure that proposed development supports high quality, publicly accessible greenspace?

We know that a strong connection with nature is good for peoples’ physical and mental health and general wellbeing. We will put more power in the hands of local councils to ensure good access to green spaces. We have earmarked funding to deliver the walking and cycling infrastructure that will allow us to enjoy these spaces as part of our daily lives, rather than destroy them as part of our daily commute.   In North Shropshire it will be essential to protect the peat bogs which are vital carbon sinks.

Owen Paterson, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate

Please download response below

Ludlow

Philip Dunne, Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate

Thank you for your email on behalf of Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

As you will know, South Shropshire boasts some of the most wonderful countryside and diverse wildlife found anywhere in England. So I am determined to do what I can to protect and enhance our environment for future generations of Salopians and visitors to enjoy.

During the last parliament, I was pleased to play my part in holding the government to account for its record on climate change, as a member of the Environmental Audit Committee. I am also a member of the Conservative Environment Network’s parliamentary caucus, and I am delighted that many of our manifesto proposals were included in the Conservative Party manifesto (you can see a short twitter thread on this here). I have also been the Parliamentary Species Champion for the Wood White butterfly, helping to preserve this beautiful butterfly which only has about 50 colonies left in the UK, several in the Marches.

Turning to the first of your three questions, I agree decisive action is needed to tackle the climate emergency. Conservation has always been at the heart of Conservatism, and Margaret Thatcher’s speech 30 years ago calling for international action on climate change shows we have been at the forefront of international debate on this issue. 

Included in the Conservative Party manifesto is our Environment Bill, which will guarantee that we will protect and restore our natural environment after leaving the EU. We have also said we will set up a new independent Office for Environmental Protection.

In answer to your second point on farming, as a farmer myself, I am well aware of the role farmers play as custodians of the environment, and what more can be done to reduce the environmental impact of farming. I am pleased the Conservative Party manifesto includes a commitment to guarantee the current total annual budget to farmers for each year of the coming Parliament - but in return for funding, they must farm in a way that protects and enhances our natural environment, as well as safeguarding high standards of animal welfare. I am also supportive of the NFU plans for British farming to contribute net zero emissions by 2040.

On your final point about publicly accessible greenspace, I share your concern – which is why I campaigned so hard to protect the Mortimer Forest, just outside Ludlow. I am pleased the Conservative Party have welcomed the Glover Review, and will create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as making our most loved landscapes greener, happier, healthier and open to all.

I hope you find my answers, inevitably brief during this election campaign, of interest. Please feel free to share them with your members and publish it on your website. 

Yours sincerely

Philip

Rt Hon Philip Dunne

Kuldip Sahota, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate

I am pleased to respond to your three General Election questions and for my response to be shared with your Members.

At the outset let me say that Labour fully endorses the Trust’s position that there are serious environmental pressures that need to be addressed urgently; new legislation is essential; leadership and governance are critical, as is a well-resourced (people and money) plan; and the people benefits of a rich outdoor environment must be well communicated.

There is so much relevant to your questions in our Manifesto but I will aim to be as concise as possible.  So what will we do to turn our plan into action?

 

1.Tackling the crises in the natural environment

Like Jeremy Corbyn, I recognise that  ”this election is the last chance to tackle our climate emergency”(C4 Climate Debate 28 Nov.).  I really do get this.  I have learnt much during this election campaign by participating in last week’s climate and environment emergency (CEE) events in Craven Arms and Ludlow.

Labour led Parliament in declaring a climate and environmental emergencyNow we will lead on fighting it.

CEE will be at the heart of a Labour Government.  We will adopt a whole Government approach, the responsibility of every Minister and Department.  We will ask the OBR to include climate and environment impacts into its economic and budget forecasts and rewrite treasury rules to ensure money is spent inline with climate targets.  Internationally, we rebuild climate and environment expertise in the Foreign Office so that the UK can influence global action to tackle the emergencies.

We will introduce a Climate and Environmental Emergency Bill, setting out in Law robust, new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection. The Bill maintain and improve upon existing EU standards of environmental regulation.

Our fully funded Green Transformation Plan is to reduce the majority of our emissions by 2030.  The target of reaching net zero by 2050 is far too late.  Labour has a costed and viable plan to get to net zero emissions.in the 2030’s.

It is very important to us that the changes will be just and no one will be left behind.

We will follow the science.

Labour will kick-start a green industrial revolution, creating one million jobs, shifting to renewable energy, investment in rail, buses and electric vehicles, and energy-efficient housing.

2. Farming and land management practices that support nature’s recovery.

Labour recognises that the climate and environment emergency interact with each other, changes in one reinforcing changes in the other.  This is particularly the case with farming and land management practices.  Farming is on front line where both Brexit and the Climate and Environment Emergency concerned.

Inside or outside the EU, because of the emergencies, farmers will need to embrace change – central and local government and communities must provide extra support for farmers.

If the public confirm their wish to leave the EU, farmers can expect Labour support to navigate all the changes that will follow - they will not face a race to the bottom in terms of animal welfare and food standards which is highly likely to have bad effects on the natural environment.

If the nation votes to Remain, I want Labour to advocate for sustainable agriculture to mitigate the climate emergency, across the EU.

Either way, Labour will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but make changes to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.

Labour will introduce legislation to ensure support and certainty for farmers and protection for the natural environment. There will be robust standards and meticulous monitoring of air and water quality to ensure progress is maintained. We will aim to achieve net zero-carbon food production by 2040.

3. High quality, accessible green space.

Labour will invest nearly £10 billion pounds over the next ten years in its  ‘Plan for Nature’; committing to ecosystem repair and environmental protections, working hand in hand with sustainable jobs, industries and social justice.

National parks have had a 20% budget cut in last ten years. Labour will increase funding by 50% and create 10 new parks.

We will rewrite planning and house building policies to require local authorities to take full account of the impact on the climate and environment of every planning application.  Where new homes are provided local authorities must ensure there is good availability of and access to open green space.

In summary, I believe that this election is our best hope to protect future generations from an uninhabitable planet.

We must act now, and act together.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Kuldip Sahota for Ludlow

Shrewsbury and Atcham

Dr Julia Buckley, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate

Dear Colin Preston,

Thank you very much for this comprehensive email. You may recall I retweeted a campaign of yours and asked whether I could call in for a visit to learn more about your work and pressing issues. I am still keen to visit if it is possible, although I appreciate your time is precious and your excellent survey is a great starting point for discussion.

I have taken my answers largely from Labour's new manifesto (see: https://labour.org.uk/issues/animal-welfare-manifesto/ and https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/a-green-industrial-revolution/).

If elected as Shrewsbury & Atcham's Labour MP I would honour the commitments below and ensure we had a strong voice for Shropshire with our beautiful natural habitat, local farming heritage and stewardship of the River Severn.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about this, which as you will see below, is a top priority for the Labour Party.

Best wishes,

Julia

Dr. Julia Buckley

 

1.       How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

This election is about the crisis of living standards and the climate and environmental emergency. Whether we are ready or not, we stand on the brink of unstoppable change.

We must confront this change while dealing with the growing inequality and insecurity in Britain. Labour led the UK Parliament in declaring a climate and environmental emergency. The next Labour government will lead the world in fighting it, with a plan to drive up living standards by transforming our economy into one low in carbon, rich in good jobs, radically fairer and more democratic.

The climate crisis ties us all into a common fate. This election is our best hope to protect future generations from an uninhabitable planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said we need to cut global emissions in half by 2030 to have a chance of keeping global heating within safe limits – that means acting now, and acting decisively.

The Tories wasted a decade serving the interests of big polluters. Labour will use the crucial next decade to act. The Tories slashed support for renewable energy while pushing through dangerous fracking.

Now Britain is decades off course on vital emissions targets.

That’s why Labour will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform our industry, energy, transport, agriculture and our buildings, while restoring nature. Our Green New Deal aims to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030 in a way that is evidence-based, just and that delivers an economy that serves the interests of the many, not the few.

Just as the original Industrial Revolution brought industry, jobs and pride to our towns, Labour’s world-leading Green Industrial Revolution will rebuild them, with more rewarding, well-paid jobs, lower energy bills and whole new industries to revive parts of our country that have been neglected for too long. For some, industrial transition has become a byword for devastation, because successive Conservative governments were content to sit back and leave the fate of whole industries and communities at the mercy of market forces. A Labour government will never let that happen.

We will work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions in every sector of our economy, so that they lead the transition in their industries, creating new, good-quality jobs and making sure that their extensive skills are passed on to the next generation of workers.

We will show the world how prioritising sustainability will not only deliver immediate improvements to everyone’s lives but also offer humanity a pathway to a more equitable and enlightened economy: one that protects our environment, reins in corporate power, revitalises democracy, unites our communities, builds international solidarity and promises a better quality of life for all. The scale of the challenge requires nothing less.

Tackling the destruction of our planet is a question of justice – for the communities at home and abroad who are most affected by it and for our children who will bear the consequences if we don’t. Social justice will define Labour’s approach. We will make sure that the costs of the green transition fall fairly and are mostly borne by the wealthy and those most responsible for the problem.

2019 saw the blossoming of a global movement calling on politicians to wake up and act on the climate and environmental emergency. Labour welcomed that movement and, as a government in waiting, we have turned its demands into detailed, credible plans for real change.

Investment

Delivering the far-reaching change needed to tackle the climate and environmental emergency will require a full mobilisation of national resources, both public and private.

Labour will create a Sustainable Investment Board to bring together the Chancellor, Business Secretary and Bank of England Governor to oversee, co-ordinate and bring forward this investment – involving trade unions and business. We will ask the Office for Budget Responsibility to incorporate climate and environmental impacts into its forecasts so that the cost of not acting will be factored into every fiscal decision.

The cost of not acting is far greater than the cost of acting. We will launch a National Transformation Fund of £400 billion and rewrite the Treasury’s investment rules to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with our climate and environmental targets – and that the costs of not acting are fully accounted for too. Of this, £250 billion will directly fund the transition through a Green Transformation Fund dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration.

We will create a National Investment Bank, backed up by a network of Regional Development Banks, to provide £250 billion of lending for enterprise, infrastructure and innovation over 10 years. They will be mandated to lend in line with our mission to decarbonise our economy while increasing productivity and creating good jobs across the country. As well as large-scale national and regional projects, smaller loans will be available through our new Post Bank based in Post Office branches, enabling thousands of bottom-up transformational changes by start-ups, small businesses, local co-operatives and community projects in towns and villages up and down the country.

We will make sure that the UK’s financial sector is helping to tackle the emergency rather than fuelling it. We will do this by improving the fitness of our financial authorities to mobilise green investment and by giving them powers to manage the risk to financial stability posed by short-sighted investment in polluting assets.

Just 100 companies globally are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions. We won’t be afraid to tackle this wanton corporate destruction by taking on the powerful interests that are causing climate change. We will change the criteria a company must meet to be listed on the London Stock Exchange so that any company that fails to contribute to tackling the climate and environmental emergency is delisted.

Labour will review and improve protected area designations, from National Parks to local nature reserves and urban green spaces.

We will introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill setting out in law robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection.

We will maintain and continuously improve the existing EU standards of environmental regulation.

A Healthy Environment

Our polluted air contributes to over 40,000 premature deaths a year and poisons our environment, with further impacts on children’s health. But the Conservatives’ air-quality measures are so inadequate they have been found to be illegal.

Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act, with a vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zones, complying with World Health Organisation limits for fine particles and nitrous oxides.

We will provide an extra £5.6 billion in funding to improve the standard of flood defences and respond to the increased risk of flooding, prioritising areas at risk in North West England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands that have been neglected by Conservative investments.

 

Food

A quarter of all food purchased is wasted every year, equivalent to over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, costing over £20 billion.

Yet Britain has an epidemic in food-related ill health, obesity, malnutrition and diabetes, as well as increased food insecurity – with a boom in food bank use and record levels of hunger.

Labour will introduce A Right to Food. We will end ‘food bank Britain’. We will ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, sustainably produced food.

We will halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether in three years. We will establish a National Food Commission and review the Allotments Act. We will make food security a reason to intervene in the economy and work with local councils to minimise food waste.

We will put farmers, fishers, food producers and workers at the heart of our plans for delivering healthy food locally. We will support local food networks, expand access to farm holdings and ensure rights of union representation for all food and agricultural workers. We will re-establish an Agricultural Wages Board in England so every part of the UK is covered.

We will set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria and, if people vote to leave the EU, require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.

We aim to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.

Waste and Recycling

Waste, including plastic waste, pollutes our land and seas, killing wildlife and contaminating our food.

We will make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing. In government in Wales, Labour has transformed the position of recycling, placing them in the top five globally for recycling rates. A UK Labour government will learn from Wales’ example, and will also back bottle-return schemes.

We will invest in three new recyclable steel plants in areas with a proud history of steel manufacturing.

2.       What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

Labour supports a move away from highly intensive, environmentally damaging farming methods and is committed to promoting best practice in cruelty-free animal husbandry and to ensuring better enforcement of agreed standards. Labour will seek to end the ‘cage age’ of outdated farming practices that cause animals distress and restrict natural behaviour. We will provide meaningful support for farmers moving to higher welfare standards.

  • Commit to keeping and strengthening the statutory codes of practice covering the treatment of farm animals.
  • Ban live exports for slaughter and fattening. This would include an exemption for breeding animals providing provision is in place ensuring they are transported under genuinely high welfare standards. This would also include an exemption for livestock transported across the Northern Ireland border.
  • Ban imports of Foie Gras to restrict the market for this cruel and inhumane product.
  • Introduce a formal whistleblowing procedure through the Food Standards Agency to enable employees to report bad behaviour and practice within abattoirs.
  • Increase management accountability of poor employment practices that undermine workforce standards.
  • Carry out a review of training and standards within slaughterhouses.
  • Introduce a phased ban on sow farrowing crates with a reasonable phase-out period, replacing with safe, free-farrowing systems. Farmers would be supported in moving to free farrowing systems by farm support payments for a transition period.
  • End the use of cages on British farms by 2025, allowing producers time to plan and make necessary changes.
  • Research into the impact on animal welfare of highly intensive livestock farming practices. This would consider the overall management of a farm and the treatment of the individual animals. We need to feed the nation with high quality, affordable food produced to standards we can trust.
  • Design post-Brexit farm subsidies to reward and encourage both high animal welfare standards and environmental practices. Embed and enhance in policy the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals during the breeding season, and encourage the growth of wildflowers.

3.       What will you do to ensure that proposed development supports high quality, publicly accessible greenspace?

Nature Restoration

Our Plan for Nature will set legally binding targets to drive the restoration of species and habitats.

We will embark on an ambitious programme of tree planting, with both forestry and native woodland species.

We will fully fund the Environment Agency and other frontline environment agencies, and improve upstream river management.

We will create new National Parks alongside a revised system of other protected area designations, which will guard existing wildlife sites and join up important habitats, while also ensuring more people can enjoy living closer to nature.

We will establish a new environmental tribunal to ensure that administrative decisions are consistent with environmental and nature-recovery obligations.

Land

Land is a public good, but it is not a common asset. In 1979, 20% of land was owned by the public sector. Today, that has halved. Green Belts protect one tenth of our land and offer conservation of some of our natural environment. Introduced by Labour in 1947 to provide access to the countryside, they are threatened by developments.

A Labour government will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.

We will invest in more county farms to replace those lost, and will work with agricultural organisations to increase access into farming for new entrants.

Julian Dean, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate

  1. How will you and your party act decisively to tackle the crises in the natural environment?

The climate emergency must be the overwhelming priority for the next government. The Green party will create a new department at the heart of government, overseen by a Carbon Chancellor to implement a Green New Deal.  This will rapidly replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources; reduce energy demand through building insulation; retrofit homes with renewable heating systems; implement sustainable transport systems to reduce car use; decarbonise industry; and plant 700 million new trees which will sequester carbon and create new wildlife rich environments. We will create a new Environmental Protection Commission to enforce environmental protections. Our carbon tax will ensure the polluter pays. We plan a new Ecocide law to prevent crimes against the natural environment, a new Clean Air Act and a new Sustainable Economy Act to include biodiversity standards. Funding for the Environment Agency and Natural England would be increased to support their vital environmental protection work. We will introduce an English Climate Emergency Education Act to support teaching about climate and environmental crises.

  1. What will you do to ensure we have farming policies that support land managers in contributing to nature’s recovery?

We plan a 10 year transition to more sustainable farming systems that restore ecosystem health and the quality of our soils and rivers. We will use a combination of subsidies, regulation and education to achieve this. Funding for soil conservation and restoration will enhance carbon sequestration as well as support increased populations of plant and animal species. This will also enable a reduction in use of harmful crop protection products to 50% by 2022. We will encourage replanting of hedgerows to create new environments for wildlife, protected by regulation. We will maintain a moratorium on the use of GMO’s. Planning system changes will encourage rewilding spaces to provide new wildlife habitats.

  1. What will you do to ensure that proposed development supports high quality, publicly accessible greenspace?

We know that a strong connection with nature is good for peoples’ physical and mental health and general wellbeing. We will put more power in the hands of local councils to ensure good access to green spaces. We have earmarked funding to deliver the walking and cycling infrastructure that will allow us to enjoy these spaces as part of our daily lives, rather than destroy them as part of our daily commute.