Sunday 12 February 2023

‘A manifesto for nature’

I have grown steadily more despondent about the trajectory that nature is taking.

Locally, nationally and internationally the news is unremittingly bleak. Habitat degraded. Species lost. The connection between our species and the others inhabiting this world is fractured.

I have therefore put together the beginnings of my own prescription to bring about change.

This should be seen as an early version and will be strengthened by the ideas of others.

I welcome your contribution.

A manifesto for nature

The world we inherited was already nature-depleted.

That same world we are passing on to succeeding generations is at best threadbare with nature hanging on by its fingertips. 

It is time for immediate action.


The Govt has committed to protecting 30% of England for nature by 2030, but has a huge way to go - just 3% of the country is properly protected for nature.

If the agriculture of the twentieth century was ‘chemical’, it is our ambition for the UK to be leaders in modern ‘biological’ agricultural practices.


We aim to return our countryside to the ‘green and pleasant land’ Blake once described and for all to enjoy by:

Combating climate change.

Enhancing biodiversity and combat species and habitat loss

Giving our population access to clean water and wholesome uk produced food.

Enabling farmers to become custodians of wildlife whilst operating sustainably and profitably.

Supporting international change.


For everyone to have access to wholesome, sustainably and locally-sourced food produced on nature-friendly farms.

Promote and provide support for community farming movement (including land) involving e”churches and schools.

Increase access to allotment plots for growing food in every borough across the UK.

Incentives for growing biofuels will be removed.


We will conserve and improve our soils to improve mycology, hydrology and invertebrate life and therefore fully-support farms wishing to transition to regenerative, no-plough systems.

In so doing, we will enhance carbon sequestration in our soils.

Use of all peat-based gardening and horticultural products will be ended.

All councils will have a statutory responsibility to have effective compost kitchen & garden waste schemes.

Management of landscapes by burning will end.


The Environment Agency will be repurposed to effectively monitor and enforce water quality so that water quality is consistently deemed ‘good’.

Sewage discharges into watercourses will end.

Barriers to fish migration will be removed and creating conditions upstream for successful breeding will be prioritised.

Conversion of poor-quality land to wetlands will increase wetland areas by 25%.

All water abstraction to be monitored and charged.

Water companies will be given a statutory duty to support the reforestation of valleys and the provision of bands between watercourses and fields to reduce pollutants entering watercourses.

Hedgerows are an important part of our landscape and can be vital to wildlife, ‘locking in’ water if managed effectively. Funding will encourage farmers to cut hedges on a three year cycle which will maximise the value of hedges to wildlife.

Fines for applying slurry or manures to fields when there is a significant risk of run off will be increased.

There will be increased monitoring and fines for pollution of watercourses by intensive animal units.

100 extra ‘marine nature reserves’ will be created within the lifetime of this parliament.

There will be increased monitoring and sanctions of salmon and other fish farms for fish health, parasites, escape & pollutants


A government minister post will be created to have oversight of English Nature and the Environment Agency, lead on biodiversity, habitat recreation, restoration and species recovery, bringing together nature organisations, land owners, local authorities and all other interested parties.

Farmers will be incentivised to achieve a new ‘Wildlife Custodian’ marque which will be supported by food chain suppliers, major supermarkets and retailers.

The successes of pine marten, white-tailed eagle and osprey reintroductions will be a mainspring to deliver other reintroduction schemes of endangered or absent species promoted by Natural England.

The government will promote and support regenerative, organic and biodynamic farming.

There will be increased connectivity for wildlife by creating one thousand miles of ‘green corridors’ across the landscape for each year of this parliament.

Fund the planting of mixed hedgerows, once established their cutting on a three-year cycle and the cost of hedge laying.

Provide funding to give all farms access to qualified ecologist advice.

Increase penalties and custodial sentences for those found in breach of the Hunting Act 2004 to include penalties for landowners on which hunting or raptor persecution take place.

Redraw the aims of our national parks to place biodiversity, habitat recreation and restoration and species recovery to the forefront of their work. National Parks to report annually on their progress.

Immediately ban the shooting of any birds on the UK amber or red lists.

Phase out the release of game birds for shooting within the lifetime of the parliament.

Ban all sales of garden pesticides and weedkillers within one year.

New buildings will all include provision for bats and nesting birds.

The government will reaffirm its commitment to never using neonicotinoids.

An element of the reinstated development aid budget will be used to support international habitat conservation at migratory ‘stopping points’ for UK birds.

We will lead the international commitment made at COP26 to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 including fully implementing the recommendations of the Global Resource Initiative, introducing a legally binding target to end deforestation within UK agricultural and forestry commodity supply chains.

Green spaces

Immediately make provision, maintenance and support of green spaces a statutory duty on all local authorities.


We will convene an annual conference held under the auspices of the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee involving all key players so that our actions towards our key targets can be scrutinised and evaluated. 

There will be an annual ‘State of nature’ debate in parliament supported by tv and online documentaries.

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