Conservative manifesto for conservation: call for written evidence

Bright Blue is conducting a call for written evidence to inform the development of a manifesto for conservation, which will be the final output from our multi-year project on conservation. The written evidence which Bright Blue receives will be an important element of our conservation project, and will be published in the annex of the final manifesto.

The current Government is focussing more on the conservation agenda. Already, a ban has been brought forward on the importation of ivory, funding has been made available for protecting pollinating species, and there has been a string of actions against plastic waste. Alongside these efforts are gradual reforms to agricultural and fishing policy, thanks to the UK’s departure from the EU, and the publication of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

To date, Bright Blue’s conservation project has delivered a number of outputs. These include the publication of two policy reports (A greener, more pleasant land, and Saving global nature), and a collection of essays (Conservation nation). We have also convened four working groups each examining a different context of environmental conservation (marine, rural, urban, and international), and last year hosted a day long conference on environmentalism and conservatism. These outputs, plus the written evidence, will all be feeding into our final manifesto.

The written evidence will be important for developing Bright Blue’s thinking for the final manifesto and, we hope, the current Government’s future policies on improving nature conservation, both at home and abroad. All submissions should be sent to Robert Hansard (robert@brightblue.org.uk), by Wednesday 5th December, 17:00. Submissions should be a maximum length of three A4 pages.

Given the wide-ranging scope of the call for evidence, respondents should not feel obligated to answer every question – only the ones relevant to their field of expertise. The key questions that we would like submissions for written evidence to answer are divided into four sub-sections, and are as follows:

Rural

  1. Where is there scope for the agricultural sector to assist in mitigating carbon emissions (for example, through carbon sinks)?

  2. Are there any nascent developments in the agricultural sector which could reduce the sector’s environmental footprint? If so, should they be recipient to government funding?

  3. What measures or practices can the agricultural sector engage in to best protect or enhance biodiversity in rural Britain?

  4. What measures or practices can the agricultural sector engage in to best protect or enhance soil quality in rural Britain?

  5. Should the UK engage in rewilding? If so, to what extent?

  6. How can pollinator decline be halted and reversed?

  7. What regulatory approach should the UK adopt on genetic modification and genetic editing in food production after it leaves the EU?

  8. Should organic farming be better supported?

  9. What are the most important public goods provided by the agricultural sector which should be rewarded through government funding?

  10. What are the key policies which the Government should introduce to better protect Britain’s rural environments?

Marine

  1. What are the biggest immediate- and longer-term threats to marine ecosystems?

  2. How does climate change impact upon marine ecosystems?

  3. What are the key policies which the Government should introduce to better protect marine environments?

  4. How successful has the UK’s Blue Belt policy been, and how could it be improved?

  5. How much of a problem is UK-generated plastic pollution in UK waters and how could the Government reduce it?

  6. How does the fishing industry impact upon marine environments and how could negative impacts be mitigated?

  7. How can the Government better tackle illegal and unreported fishing?

  8. Are the Government’s plans for a successor to the Common Fisheries Policy adequate with respect to enhancing sustainability of fish populations?

Urban

  1. What are the key policies which the Government should introduce to better protect Britain’s urban environments?

  2. What can improve a city or town’s efficiency and environment?

  3. How can new developments for housing and other infrastructure projects be made more ecologically friendly?

  4. Should more building be permitted on green belt designated land? If so, how should such development be carried out so as to minimise ecological harm (or maximise ecological benefit)?

  5. How important is access to green and blue space in urban areas and what policies could the Government adopt to improve access to such spaces in the UK?

  6. How can the Government increase rates of recycling in the UK?

  7. How much of a problem is littering and fly-tipping in the UK and what can the Government do to better address it?

International

  1. What are the main drivers of overseas ecological degradation?

  2. What are the key policies which the Government should introduce to better protect natural environments abroad?

  3. How much of an issue is the illegal wildlife trade and how can the Government more effectively counter it?

  4. After Brexit, what provisions could be included in future UK trade agreements to better conserve ecosystems abroad?

  5. Where might there be scope for the UK to work with international partners to better protect threatened habitats and ecosystems?

  6. What are the main threats to biosecurity for the UK, and how could the Government better protect the UK from them?

  7. How could the UK deploy its ODA budget to support sustainable development and environment-development win-wins?