UK wildlife is in decline, but solutions exist within all our communities. The NFWI calls on its members to participate in national schemes and local organisations and mobilise their groups to take action to protect wildlife in their own or local green spaces, protecting biodiversity and the environment, and creating a network of accessible wildlife-friendly communities throughout the UK.
The proposer would like WI members to participate in national and local wildlife schemes, and encourage their WI branches to take action to protect wildlife in their own communities in order to create a network of wildlife-friendly communities in the UK.
The scale of the problem
According to the National Biodiversity Network, the UK has lost 60% of its wildlife in the last 40 years.
In September 2020, the RSPB found that the UK had failed to reach 17 out of 20 of the UN’s biodiversity targets set 10 years ago. This has resulted in a ‘lost decade for nature.’
These failures included insufficient funding for nature conservation- dropping by £250 million over the last 10 years- too little land being managed for nature, and declining wildlife populations. Furthermore, the RSPB State of Nature Report (2019) found that 41% of UK species of wildlife are in decline and 15% are at risk of extinction.
The current situation
As written in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ ’25 Year Plan for the Environment’, the Government intend on developing a ‘nature recovery network’ to protect and restore wildlife, and provide opportunities to re-introduce species of animals that the UK has lost from its countryside. The Government would like this to provide 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife habitat, more effectively linking existing protected sites and landscapes, as well additional wildlife infrastructure.
In August 2020, five local authorities were selected by the Government to receive a share of £1 million of funding to set up Local Nature Recovery Strategies’ pilot studies to help map and identify the most valuable sites and habitats for wildlife in those areas and identify where nature can be restored.
Whilst nature and conservation organisations have welcomed these measures, it is clear that this process will take time, and nature and conservation organisations are continuing to urge people to do what they can to help boost wildlife in their local areas.
According to the National Trust, rare UK wildlife thrived over lockdown, displaying the human impact on wildlife populations.
How could the WI work on this issue if it was passed?
A full campaign would be developed by the NFWI if the resolution is passed, taking into account developments since then. To help inform your discussions, here are some ways the WI could consider working on this issue.
At local and regional levels, there are a number of simple things that WI members can do to help local wildlife. You can find some of these here: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions
Through the SOS for Honeybees campaign, there are also pollinator-friendly wildlife resources available on My WI.
Nationally, the NFWI could work with a number of wildlife and conservation organisations to encourage the UK Government to pursue increasingly ambitious wildlife conservation policies, and ensure that conservation schemes are intrinsic to the Government’s ‘green recovery’ plans.