No nature. No future.
A new Bill, officially called the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill, would give Ministers sweeping powers to remove or replace over 4,000 laws in the future, without public consultation or scrutiny by Parliament. If these protections are lost, it would lead to even more pollution poisoning rivers, more wild places at risk of being damaged – and potentially destroyed – and more wildlife threatened with extinction.
Campaign update: 25th May 2023
A crucial vote is took place on Wednesday 24th May that could have serious ramifications for nature. Thousands of Wildlife Trust supporters acted fast to convince MPs to vote for amendments to the Bill in order to ensure Parliament isn't left out of key decisions in future and that the laws that protect nature are not weakened.
Disappointingly, despite almost 10,000 of you contacting MPs, the UK Government and Conservative MPs voted down this amendment. The Bill will now be voted on in the House of Lords on 6th June, where we hope an amendment will be reinserted to ensure our environmental protections are not watered down.
Campaign update: 15th May 2023
The UK Government had been forging forward with a ‘sunset clause’ on the Retained EU Law Bill that would bulldoze hundreds of important laws that protect nature and people at the end of the year (2023).
On the 15th May 2023, UK Government announced that it had scrapped the ‘sunset clause’, which means many vital environmental laws will remain in place in 2024. Your passionate postcards, emails and tweets to MPs raised the alarm. Thank you for your support. However, the fight is not yet over. Please read our response below for more information.
Read the Wildlife Trusts reaction
Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“We won’t be congratulating UK Government for its decision to stop doing something it should never have even thought about in the first place. The UK Government’s Retained EU Law bill has been a shambles from the very beginning. Now it has ditched the ‘sunset clause’, which threatened to dismantle most Retained EU Law at the end of this year and posed an immediate threat to vital laws that protect nature and people. However, the huge problem posed by the bill still remains because it will allow future governments to revoke important laws at whim, whenever they want to.
“Ministers should never be given carte blanche to pick and choose which laws should be kept or binned without public consultation or scrutiny – that is fundamentally undemocratic. The uncertainty created by UK Government over Retained EU Law has caused huge problems for business, as well as organisations working to protect nature. Ministers must stop seeing environmental law as a burden because it helps stop more sewage entering our rives and ensures food is safe to eat. Given the urgent need to address the nature and climate crisis, they should be strengthening protections, not ripping them apart.”
This is a huge shift from UK Government, but we are concerned that some laws are still to be binned, whilst the Bill will continue to allow future Ministers, not Parliament, to revoke important laws at whim, whenever they want to.
Whilst environmental protections are under threat, we need to act together NOW to #DefendNature. Find out how you can help below.
How you can help: step-by-step
Write to your MP
- Download our template letter here OR our follow-up email template here if you've received an unsatisfactory response from your MP. We also have a template here if you have a Labour MP.
- Edit or add to the text to reflect your own concerns
- Find your MP here
- Send your letter by post or email to your MP
Step five: Take the pledge
Will you pledge to write to your MP and councillor?
Why are The Wildlife Trusts and other environmental charities so concerned?
We believe the UK Government has launched a full-scale attack on nature – leaving wildlife unprotected by tearing up some of the most fundamental laws we’ve got.
New planning laws and ‘investment zones’ announced on Friday 23rd September represent a ‘free-for-all’ on nature by weakening the laws previously in place to protect it from bulldozers and concrete. The new Retained EU Law Bill could also see the end of basic protections, leading to the loss of designated wildlife sites and a relaxation on pollution laws, resulting in more sewage in our rivers and streams.
What’s more, the UK Government is also reviewing the new system that has been developed to reward farmers that help to restore the environment. Reports suggest that instead they might revert back to the old system of paying farmers depending on how much land they own (with larger landowners receiving more subsidy). This is a complete about turn on the farming reform the Conservation Party promised to deliver in their election manifesto in 2019.
You can read more about these issues in various Wildlife Trust blogs here.