Vote for nature says BBOWT!

Tom Marshall

Candidates in local council elections urged to make a pledge to act for wildlife

Nature doesn’t have a vote, so the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust is speaking up for all local wildlife and our environment in upcoming council elections next month.

The Trust is calling on all current and future councillors to take their local environment seriously and make a pledge to act for nature – and voters are urged to ask their candidates to sign up.

Over 350 councillors will be elected in nine councils across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire on Thursday 6 May 2021. 

Nicky Warden, Public Affairs and Planning Officer for BBOWT said:

“Councillors can have a huge impact on the state of wildlife in our region. The polices they set and apply affect how public green spaces are managed, how wildlife rich sites are protected and how we are tackling the nature and climate emergency locally.

“Wildlife across our three counties is under enormous pressure from road and house building, unsustainable farming methods and loss of habitats in urban and rural areas. We need all our local councillors to be standing up for the precious wildlife on their patch and we urge them to make a pledge to do so.”

BBOWT's Matthew Stanton addressing the crowd at Oxford global climate strike

BBOWT's Matthew Stanton addressing the crowd at Oxford global climate strike.

Many councillors have already shown great support for nature, but we need to do more. BBOWT is asking all current councillors and candidates for election to pledge that they will work to ensure that their council adopts a target of 30% of land being well managed for nature by 2030.

Practical steps to achieve this would include declaring an ecological emergency, maximising opportunities for wildlife on road verges and green spaces and putting a stop to routine and unnecessary use of chemicals harmful to nature. They could also use their influence with landowners, developers, business and communities to put nature at the heart of decision making.

Whole councils will be elected this year for Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City council, with a third in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire. Every councillor in Buckinghamshire Council will also be elected in May, with a third of those in Milton Keynes. A third of councillors in Reading, Slough and Wokingham will also be elected.

Many councils have already taken the step of declaring a climate emergency and have started to work on climate change strategies and action plans. Fewer have acknowledged the threat of the ecological emergency or started to address it.

Voters can find out if their councillors or candidates have already signed the pledge for nature by visiting https://www.bbowt.org.uk/vote-nature.