Sir George pledged to help wildlife to adapt to a changing climate. "I attended The Wildlife Trusts’ event in the House of Commons2 where they celebrated the milestone of 100 Living Landscape schemes covering one million hectares around the UK. These schemes help wildlife prepare for the advent of climate change."
‘I am delighted to help The Wildlife Trusts, including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust that works in my constituency, deliver on their Living Landscape vision. It is clear we must now prepare for the inevitable impact of climate change. It is important that we value our natural environment as part of that. Now that the Climate Change Bill includes measures to put climate change adaptation on the agenda of Government action, the natural environment on which we all depend, is central to these policies and programmes. Parliamentarians have a vital role in ensuring this happens.’
The effects of climate change will result in many plants and animals needing to move in search of suitable conditions: a 2ºC rise in temperature could shift the natural range of some species by more than 150 miles to the north or nearly 1,000 ft up hillsides. The Wildlife Trusts’ Living Landscape schemes aim to facilitate this process by enlarging specially protected areas, joining them up and ‘greening’ the places that are more hostile to plants and animals such as urban areas.
‘Michael Allen, Chair of The Wildlife Trusts: ‘We very much welcome the support we have from parliamentarians for our Living Landscape vision. If we are to help our wildlife survive, we must also ensure that government policies that impact on land management and land use are fit for purpose. We must protect and enlarge our special places, we must join them up, and we must ensure we encourage nature in places that are devoid of it. We urge the Government to ensure that the new Climate Change Act will be a focus for that. We benefit from nature in so many ways. As a society, we must make decisions now that we do not live to regret in decades to come.’
Professor Dieter Helm CBE6, spoke at the event in the House of Commons. He said: ‘Now is not the time to sacrifice British landscapes and biodiversity - however bad the credit crisis gets. We need to ensure that future generations have something left to enjoy, and not simply ignore the environment because of our short term problems. The Living Landscapes project is not only good from a narrow environmental perspective, but it makes economic sense too. The economic benefits are potentially very great, and as these islands get more crowded and economic growth makes people better off, the value to future generations will be ever greater.’
Notes to Editors
1. There are 47 Wildlife Trusts across the whole of the UK. They work for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. With 765,000 members, they are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species, whether they be in the countryside, in cities or at sea. They manage 2,200 nature reserves covering more than 84,000 hectares.
2. The event was hosted by Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, Vice President of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
3. For more information on the schemes to http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/index.php?section=environment:livinglandscapes
4. The Climate Change Bill is currently passing through the House of Commons. It includes provisions for Government to produce a UK adaptation programme and develop policies.
6. Professor Dieter Helm CBE also spoke at the event. He is an economist and is a Fellow of New College, University of Oxford.
For more information go to wildlifetrusts.org