A Wilder Future. A Wilder Yorkshire

(c) Sally Henderson

Britain stands on the brink of its biggest ever shake-up of environmental rules and we are calling for A Wilder Yorkshire. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change our world profoundly for wildlife...

Please ask your MP to support a strong Environment Act and to promote this to others in their party. 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.

Will you speak up for me?

Up until now, legislation has allowed us to protect pockets of land and habitats, but stronger and more progressive laws will enable us to actually restore wildlife. Something that is desperately needed.

Wildlife is in trouble

From rivers and woodlands, to birds and flowers, our natural world is struggling. Over half the species assessed in the State of Nature report have suffered since the 1970s, and many of our most-loved animals are in trouble:

  • 66% decline in the number of barn owls since the 1930s
  • 95% decline in the number of basking shark in UK waters since the 1950s
  • 40% decline in the number of Atlantic salmon since the 1970s
  • 90% decline in the number of common frogs since the 1980s
  • 90% decline in the number of water voles since the 1990s
  • 97% decline in the number of hedgehogs since the 1950s.

Each generation is beginning to expect less and less - for they are seeing less and less and accepting that as normal. Many of today’s teenagers have never seen a hedgehog, for example, except on the screen of their phones. This is not the legacy we want to leave behind. That is not the Yorkshire we love.

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.

By talking to your MP you can help them to understand the part they have to play in stopping the loss of wildlife and bringing about more nature in people’s lives.

How would an Environment Act help wildlife in Yorkshire?

  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 our existing wildlife sites safe from harm
  4. Protect our best wildlife habitats under the sea
  5. Stop soils washing away into rivers and the sea  
  6. Improve air quality, especially in places like Barnsley and Leeds
  7. Stop poisoning our 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.

Advice: Meeting Your MP

Our top tips to make talking with your MP as easy as possible. If you're not sure who your MP is, then just enter your postcode into this website to find out.

YWT colleague Matt met his local MP recently. He wrote a blog about his experiences and how you can make your meeting a success too.

Read Matt's blog

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 (see top of this page for what to say about Nature Targets, a Nature Recovery Network and a Nature Watchdog). 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. Have a look at the ‘Voting Records’ section (of the link above) and scroll down for information about environmental voting records.

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!

Save Yorkshire's Wildlife!