Opinion

5 petitions you need to sign if you care about wildlife conservation in the UK

1. ‘Ban driven grouse shooting’

Dr Mark Avery’s petition to ban driven grouse shooting in the UK has reached well over 80,000 signatures and needs less than 20,000 before September 20th in order to be debated in Parliament.

Endorsed by Chris Packham, Avery argues that “Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which increases flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions, relies on killing Foxes, Stoats, Mountain Hares etc in large numbers and often leads to the deliberate illegal killing of protected birds of prey including Hen Harriers.”

You can find a link to the petition here:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003

Several excellent videos of Chris Packham arguing for the ban can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/ChrisGPackham/?fref=ts

2. ‘Goodwin Sands SOS – Stop The Dredge!’

This petition endorse by Wolf Hall actor Mark Rylance, has 9,500 signatures and is 500 shy of earning a response from the government.

The campaign is attempting to stop the Dover Harbour Board from dredging an area “25 square nautical miles in size lying 5 miles off the Kent coast in the English Channel” close to a 350 strong colony of grey seals.

In a recent Guardian article, Joanna Barker, a conservation scientist from ZSL said ‘she was concerned at the potential impact, after 75% of last year’s grey seals were counted there. “I think, and many other scientists think, it could be quite an important meeting point for seals coming from mainland Europe because it’s one of most eastern sandbanks of its type.”’

You can find a link to the article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/10/rising-seal-numbers-in-thames-estuary-hide-triple-threat-to-populations

You can find a link to the petition here:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/goodwin-sands-sos-stop-the-dredge

3. ‘Give the hedgehog better legal protection in order to reverse its decline.’

Little is known for sure about the UK population of European Hedgehogs, it has been reported that they have declined by up to a third in the last 10 years, with more extreme estimates putting it at a 66% decline since 2002.

The Hedgehog currently has no legislative protection in the UK, which makes it very difficult for ecological consultancies and NGOs to encourage developers and landowners to provide habitat for them.

Oliver Colvile MP’s petition has almost 50,000 signatures, and the deadline is today (11th of August). The more signatures it receives in the next 24 hours the better chance it has for media exposure post deadline.

BTO article on Hedgehog decline can be found here:
https://www.bto.org/science/monitoring/hedgehogs

You can find a link to the petition here:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/121264

4. ‘Give all ancient woodland statutory legal protection’

Only 2% of the UKs land cover is classed as ancient woodland, a highly rare and biodiversity habitat type that has no legal protection. The only provision for its protection is in the ‘The National Planning Policy Framework’, which urges planning authorities to take its presence into account when deciding on whether it can be developed on. However, this contains a provision that states it may be overlooked if the development meets certain ‘Social, economic and societal benefits’. For infrastructure developments such as HS2, this essentially waves all protection aside.

Statutory protection would allow these sites protection from development so they can be safeguarded for wildlife and future generations.

The petition has over 14,000 signatures and the deadline is the 29th of August.

You can find a link to the petition here:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/118164

5. ‘Protect UK Environment & Wildlife – adopt European environmental legislation.’

Wilder is soon to begin its first major campaign #LawsOfNature which will raise awareness of and push for the protection of UK wildlife protection laws, statutory sites and subsidies post-Brexit.

We believe that protecting wildlife law enshrined by EU directives is essential, but we also believe that the UK needs new law that goes even further, with its own national level enforcement and broader species-specific protection.

This campaign will soon begin, but until then you can sign this petition that has over 3,500 signatures, and with a deadline of 17th January 2016, it has alot of time to help push for a national conversation about the protection of our wildlife, and its place in the post-Brexit political landscape.

You can find a link to the petition here:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/140238

– Sam Manning (Wilder Founder)

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