I am blogging from my personal perspective. For me nature is a key area and something I focus on when making political decisions. I do believe that there are many other positives for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union, and a leap into isolation is a backwards step that will stifle us.
So why does nature in the UK need us to REMAIN in the European Union? Well, to put it bluntly, the environmental record of the UK is poor. Prior to the European Union we were the dirty man of Europe, our beaches were filthy, our air was polluted and our wildlife conservation laws were weak. The European Union has tough environmental laws which have forced the UK to clean up our act. So much so that now we have some of the cleanest beaches in Europe, with 95% clean enough to swim from, a large jump since the 90s, when over a quarter of British beaches were too dirty to swim from. In fact the EU has introduced even tougher legislation on this issue which will further improve the standard.
The EU has the single largest body of environmental legislation in the world. Evidence shows that this has had an exceptionally positive impact. A new scientific study released this week has shown that the EU Nature Directives (laws that protect wildlife, habitat and environment) are vital to Europe’s ability to protect its wildlife. The Nature Directives work; not only have they benefited wildlife, but they benefit all of us. Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas in the EU, 98% of EU citizens now live within a 12 mile radius of these sites, these sites not only offer us a chance to connect with nature, they also give us more practical benefits such as clean water, flood protection, cleaner air and help to mitigate climate change.
Cleaner beaches, cleaner air and more wildlife sites not only have a positive impact on nature, but also on our health and economy.
I find the idea that the UK government after a Brexit would introduce environmental and conservation laws of a similar level to the EU laughable. The damage this government continues to do even with restrictive EU laws is frightening. Take fracking under national parks as an example of this. I cannot even think of the disastrous outcomes a Brexit would cause. It has even been argued that a Brexit could be a positive thing for wildlife throughout the EU, because the UK consistently drags it’s heals and attempts to dismantle almost every environmental law put in front of it.
Globally nature is not in a good place at the moment. Climate change is a real threat to our way of life, habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate and wildlife is increasingly becoming endangered. At this time we need more collaboration between nations, nature sees no boundaries and the importance of strong cross-border environmental laws cannot be underestimated.
Environmental groups have strongly backed the Remain campaign, nature is an asset to our country and one that needs protection. In order for us to truly protect our wildlife and our countryside, I believe Britain needs the European Union.