UK public calls for urgent action to protect the natural world following the country’s first citizens’ assembly for nature
The People’s Plan for Nature has launched today and it calls for an urgent shift in our relationship with the natural world. The plan was created by the first ever UK-wide citizens’ assembly for nature and includes recommendations for renewing and protecting our natural environment.
The plan comes after decades of damage have pushed wildlife and habitats to the brink. Thirty-eight million birds have vanished from our skies in the last 50 years, and 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the Second World War.
Experts believe that only 5% of UK land is effectively protected for nature.
The People’s Plan for Nature aims to turn the tide by challenging governments, businesses, charities, communities, and individuals with a public demand for immediate and sweeping change. It says there must be ‘no more harm to nature’ and demands stronger legislation and clear targets.
The plan includes a total of 28 calls to action, which include requests to:
- Increase enforcement of existing legislations and designations in order to better protect nature
- Overhaul the current subsidy arrangements to provide incentives to farmers who support sustainability and commit to rewilding
- Create new policies which force all companies involved in food production and retail to stop their negative impacts on the environment
- Require supermarkets and food retailers to be transparent about the sources of their products and their impacts on nature
- Reduce and reallocate fishing quotas to ensure that the balance of nature in the sea is restored
Create a new and permanent Assembly for Nature made up of NGOs, industry and public expertise
Over four weekends between November 2022 and February 2023, 100 assembly members from all over the UK gathered to listen to evidence on the dire state of UK nature as well as the value of nature in its own right, to society, culturally, economically and for the way it supports mental health. They also heard evidence on approaches to nature protection and restoration, food systems, access to nature, fishing and agriculture, and much more. Evidence was provided by a range of world-leading experts, including academics, farmers, supermarkets, local authorities and water companies, and a range of viewpoints. As science co-lead, our Director, Professor Nathalie Seddon, was available throughout the process to ensure evidence was balanced, accurate and included perspectives from across all four nations. She was there to answer the many excellent questions posed by the citizens, who then brainstormed solutions, culminating in the People’s Plan. The innovative process also involved 30,000 contributions from the UK public
The citizens’ assembly was run independently by Involve, an organisation that develops new ways to involve people in decisions that affect their lives, and the Sortition Foundation, who specialise in selecting participants to take part in these kinds of events. An independent panel with representatives drawn from different sectors provided input to ensure the process was fair, balanced and well-informed. It was convened by the National Trust, the RSPB and WWF UK to give the public a clear say on how to solve the nature crisis.
“The People’s Plan for Nature is a roadmap to help us get from where we are now, living in a highly degraded nature-depleted country, to where we need to be, empowered and living as part of flourishing landscapes, seascapes and cities, healthier, happier and re-connected with nature.
The experience left me feeling hopeful for the future of UK nature as well as for nature in general; there’s a good chance that if we get things right here, other places will be inspired to do the same.”
NbSI Director Professor Nathalie Seddon, Academic co-lead of the People’s Assembly for Nature
The assembly now hopes to create a groundswell of support and is calling for people to back the People’s Plan for Nature by adding their voice at peoplesplanfornature.org. Governments, businesses, communities and charities are also being urged to respond to the recommendations to deliver transformative change.
Read the full plan, watch the launch video and learn more about the ways in which you can help Save Our Wild isles. For more information and to add your voice visit: peoplesplanfornature.org