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Published: 18 September 2014
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
The WWF has summarised three key priorities for all political parties to include in their election manifestoes ahead of next May’s general election, in a bid to ensure all parties offer ambitious plans for the environment.
The next government will face big environmental challenges, from a warming climate to threats to precious habitats, but the WWF says there will also be real opportunities, too. Among them are the chances to protect and restore the places we love, ensure the economy grows in a sustainable way and enhance the quality of life of people in the UK and abroad.
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The WWF’s definition of a leader is ‘someone who doesn’t wait for others to act first.’ It’s only asking three things from the UK’s next government, but they are three huge, crucial asks.
1. Save the world’s forests and wildlife
Close the loopholes that still allow illegal or unsustainable wood products to be sold in Europe. There’s a review of the EU Timber Regulation in 2015 – and that’s the key chance to get this right.
Insist that crimes against wildlife – such as butchering elephants for ivory or smuggling tiger parts – are treated as the serious offences they are. In the UK we need long-term funding for our vital National Wildlife Crime Unit.
2. Build a clean 21st century economy – and do what we promised on climate change
Confirm solid commitments and targets for slashing our greenhouse gas emissions. The Committee on Climate Change has worked out the figures in its ‘carbon budgets’ – politicians now need to put them into practice.
Be serious and ambitious about backing renewable energy and make energy efficiency of homes our national infrastructure priority. We can and must ‘de-carbonise’ the UK’s economy, moving away from the old dependency on dirty fossil fuels for our energy and transport. We must encourage EU and global economies to do the same.
Promote and support sustainable development at home and abroad. We need a new Office of Environmental Responsibility to hold the government to account on its environmental performance, putting action on the environment and climate change at the heart of policy.
3. Make sure the UK has healthy rivers and seas
Create a coherent network of protected areas in the seas around the UK – safeguarding some of our most precious wildlife.
Prevent too much water being taken from our rivers, and restore damaged ones to health. And insist that businesses and households use water much more efficiently – much greater use of water meters will help.
For more information, download WWF’s manifesto priorities for the 2015 election.