Nature and Biodiversity
Being confined to our homes during the pandemic has underlined how precious nature is and how vital it is for our wellbeing. It offers space for reflection and physical space for exercise and meeting friends.
Successive governments have failed to protect our natural world, so that we are now facing an ecological crisis. The Green Party would address this crisis as a matter of urgency. Three important Green Party areas of focus within nature are:
Protection and restoration
- In addition to protecting Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Specific Interest, we must restore our precious chalk streams and extend our historic woodlands.
- The biodiversity contained in topsoil should be considered as a fundamental environmental asset. There are billions of micro-organisms and invertebrates in every handful, on which our survival depends.
- Soil should be included in calculation of biodiversity net gain of after any development.
- We must reverse the loss of 75% of flying insect biomass over 30 years. Our lives depend on them. We have also lost 97% of our wildflower meadows since 1930, on which those insects depend.
- We would identify road verges of particular value for establishment of wild-flowers, substantially increasing our ‘Special verges’ and setting an initial target of 25% of cemeteries and churchyards left unmown and planted with wildflowers.
- We would identify other public areas for wildflowers or rewilding, such as Saffron Walden castle and work with private landowners, such as water companies.
- We would invest in rewilding schemes bringing about habitat recovery and benefiting local communities through tourism and job creation.
Reconnecting society with nature
- We would create green corridors throughout Uttlesford enable wild-life to flourish, promoting biodiversity and helping people access the benefits of nature.
- We would create a new forest for Uttlesford to ease the pressure on Hatfield Forest.
- We would implement affordable, clean transport through new cycling, walking and bus routes to encourage the enjoyment of the natural world.
- We would create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment.
- A massive agricultural transition is needed to protect and regenerate nature. Intensive farming has . The removal of hedgerows and grass verges in an effort to maximise profit also leads to the destruction of habitat for wildlife.
- The Greens would work with farmers to transition them to more sustainable, diverse and environmentally friendly forms of land use, including organic farming and agroforestry in a move away from intensive farming.
- To facilitate this, grants would be given to farmers to encourage a new approach to farming, which would see millions of trees being planted and a radically scaled back use of toxic pesticides to restore a natural balance to the countryside.