Act for Nature: Calls for new law to support recovery of nature and improve people's wellbeing

Monday 8th December 2014

Walking in the countrysideWalking in the countryside (Duane Yates)

Charities are challenging political parties to ‘act for nature’ by introducing new laws to restore nature and increase everyone’s access to it, not only for nature’s sake but also for the contribution it makes to people’s health and wellbeing.

The ‘Nature and Wellbeing Act’ Green Paper sets out compelling evidence which shows just how much people need nature. It offers an ambitious package of measures to turn around the decline in our natural environment and contribute to many of our most pressing social and political objectives.

The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB warn that the health of our economy and communities, education and our own wellbeing are inextricably linked to the health of the natural world and our quality of life will fail if society doesn’t take action for nature.

The charities have joined forces to launch a campaign called Act for Nature, working together as part of a growing movement of people and organisations who wish to see the natural environment recognised for its true value and contribution to our lives.

The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB - which together have more than two million members who want to protect nature – are calling for cross-party agreement on the need for nature and press all parties to include legislation for nature and wellbeing in their manifestos ahead of the General Election in May.

The General Election means political parties are now painting their visions for a brighter future, providing an opportunity for people to ask politicians to recognise how nature is intrinsically at the heart of better places to live in towns and cities as well as across rural landscapes. Ensuring nature thrives and plays a part on all of our lives means decisions must not be based on short-term expediency.

Inactivity and obesity are escalating; poor mental health is having a significant impact on wellbeing; climate change is already affecting our urban areas and the productivity of our countryside; many of our villages, towns and cities face growing risk of flooding; and our economy continues to use much of the natural world in an unsustainable way, which is likely to be a brake on progress and development in the future.

The Green Paper shows our need for nature in every part of our lives:

  • The most deprived communities are 10 times less likely to live in the greenest areas.
  • Fewer than one in 10 children regularly play in wild places, compared to almost half, a generation ago.
  • If every household in England were provided with good access to quality green space it could save an estimated £2.1 billion in health care costs.

A new Nature and Wellbeing Act should herald a wider long-term commitment by government to take consistent account of nature and the wider environment across all policy-making and legislation.

Find out more about the campaign on The Wildlife Trusts website.

The Wildlife Trusts’ and RSPB’s call for a Nature and Wellbeing Act is supported by Butterfly Conservation, Campaign to Protect Rural England, John Muir Trust, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Plantlife and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.




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Nature and Wellbeing Act - summary1.43 MB