Wilder Future: Wilder Suffolk

Will you speak up for wildlife?

WildNet - Tom Marshall

Wildlife needs your help

Hedgehogs are just one Suffolk species that needs our help. Across the county, their habitats are under threat and there are fewer wild places for all the animals and plants we love. Unfortunately, it's the same story right across the country where thousands of birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, plants and trees are finding it harder and harder to survive. 

Suffolk Wildlife Trust, along with other local Wildlife Trusts and environmental charities have convinced the Westminster Government that we need new environmental laws – an Environment Act that will improve protection for our country’s wildlife. Unfortunately, not all politicians are convinced, so to make sure the law not only protects wildlife but helps it to recover, we need everyone on board. MPs will soon be voting on this and we urgently need them to support a strong and ambitious Environment Act. After all, a country, and a county with more wildlife is not only better for hedgehogs, it's better for us all!

Hedgehogs may not be able to ask their local MP for support - but you can...

Please arrange a meeting with your local Member of Parliament and help us talk to every MP by Christmas. 

Yes, I'll speak to my MP

The campaign for a wilder future starts here....

Critically, we need the Environment Act to give us:

Nature Targets: legal targets for nature's recovery that politicians must ultimately achieve and regularly report on progress towards e.g. safer air to breathe in our towns and cities.

A Nature Recovery Network: a joined-up network of habitats that provide enough space for wildlife to recover and for people to thrive.

Nature Watchdog: an independent body to help people challenge bad decisions made by Government and councils, which have a negative impact on wildlife and our natural environment.

How would an Environment Act help wildlife in Suffolk?

  1. Improve people’s access to nature, especially in towns

  2. Create new wild areas and wildlife corridors across the county

  3. Keep Suffolk's existing wildlife sites safe from harm

  4. Protect our best wildlife habitats under the sea

  5. Stop Suffolk's soils washing away into rivers and the sea  

  6. Improve air quality, especially in Ipswich 

  7. Stop damaging Suffolk's rivers and streams with chemicals

  8. Reduce emissions that are contributing to climate change

  9. Protect people’s rights to a healthy natural environment

  10. Avoid the loss of environmental protection laws after Brexit.

Will you speak up for wildlife?

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Why is an Environment Act needed?

We need wildlife. Our natural world is valuable in its own right and is the foundation of our well-being - we depend on it and it depends on us. Without a healthy natural world the survival of humanity is at stake. By creating more space for nature, we can create a better world for people and wildlife.

Wildlife is in trouble. From rivers and woodlands, to birds and flowers, our natural world is struggling. Over half the species assessed in the State of Nature report have suffered since the 1970s, with many of our much-loved animals struggling. Just some of the countrywide declines we have seen in recent years include:

  • 50% decline in the number of hedgehogs in rural areas since 2000
  • 66% decline in the number of barn owls since the 1930s despite significant efforts in Suffolk to provide nest boxes
  • 95% decline in the number of basking sharks in UK waters since 1950s
  • 59% decline in the number of skylarks since 1970 
  • 55% decline in the number of swifts since 1994
  • 68% decline in the number of common toads since 1985
  • 90% decline  in young European Eels joining adult populations since the early 1980s

Wildlife needs us. We can make a difference. A new and ambitious Environment Act can help reverse the trend of missing wildlife, setting out a plan for nature's recovery and creating a healthier natural world for us all.

Why we need a Wilder Suffolk and what does it look like?

It is our fundamental belief that life with nature is good for us all and we have an ambitious and optimistic vision for a wilder, more nature-friendly Suffolk.* We can't do it on our own, but with a collective and committed effort, we can reach beyond nature reserves and see wildlife thrive throughout the wider countryside, across farmland, towns, villages and back gardens. This vision can only be realised if it's underpinned by strong environmental laws, but we believe people in Suffolk have the will and courage to help us achieve it.

Talking to your MP about a new Environment Act is a crucial first step - we hope you'll join us.

Yes, I'll speak to my MP

*To us, nature-friendly means more people enjoying and standing up for nature, more places managed with nature in mind and quite simply - more wildlife. 

Advice: Meeting Your MP

What to expect

MPs want to know what it is you care about. Not only do they want to hear from you, they have a duty to listen - their job is to represent you in Parliament! MPs are generally friendly and open for a chat, but they are pressed for time so don't expect meetings to last too long. Generally appointments will last around 10-15 minutes - so make sure you've got your key messages ready. You might find it helpful to prepare in advance and perhaps even rehearse what you want to say beforehand. It's also important to research who your MP is. Find out what they care about and whether or not they have taken an active interest in the environment before – that way you can go into the meeting fully prepared. You can find a lot of that information here. See the ‘Voting Records’ section and scroll down for information about environmental voting records.

All MP surgeries are slightly different, but in most cases you are likely to be sat in a waiting room before your appointment with people from your local area. Once it is your turn, you'll be invited into an office for your chance to persuade your MP why they should be supporting a new law for nature's recovery. You won't regret it (and to your friends, family and potential employees it sounds really impressive - so be sure to let them know!).

How can I make my meeting effective?

Share your story:
MPs will be interested in personal stories. Share yours with them, choosing experiences that have taken place in your local area and meant a lot to you. This way you can show your MP how much the natural environment in your area matters. Perhaps there are some moments shared with Suffolk Wildlife Trust or events you've attended that stand out? Can you think how even more wildlife in your area would help to improve it?

Have a clear ask: 
To make your meeting as successful as possible, make sure you have some clear things to ask your MP to do for you. For example, you could ask them to write to their Party Leader e.g. Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, and their environment team to support an ambitious Environment Act for all the reasons shared above. You can also ask them what they think they can do to help make this happen.

Don’t worry if you’re not an expert: 
It’s your MP’s job to listen to you and you will probably know far more than them - just be passionate about the issue.

Take a photo:
Ask your MP if you can take a photo with them - this is a great way to let others know that people have been speaking to them about nature’s recovery, and to encourage them to do the same. MPs often like the publicity too!

Next steps

Let us know if you are successful in meeting with your MP. A booklet outlining our vision for a wilder future and the importance of an ambitious new Environment Act is available for your meeting, please get in touch if you would like a paper copy posted to you.

Following up with your MP is a good way to keep your meeting fresh in their mind – sending them a quick ‘thank you’ email with the photo is a nice way of doing this.

It might also help to take brief notes on what was said in the meeting so you can remind them of anything they have committed to and hold them to it!

If you are unable to meet with your MP then please consider writing to them instead. Their postal address can be found here.

Things to help you during your visit

Help to save Suffolk's wildlife today

Hare by Andy Rouse