Thursday, 6 October 2016

Brexit and its significance for wildlife

As we start to get used to the idea that 'Brexit means Brexit' an important question for those with environmental concerns must be 'what will be the impact of Brexit?'

During the referendum campaign some very dubious promises were made by the Brexiteers. £350m per day would be repatriated and spent on the NHS and all sorts of pet projects such as scrapping VAT on energy. Well, the Brexiteers have Teresa May's feet in the fire so she will have to deliver some of these wild promises or else she will be booted out of office!

Where will the savings come from? You can bet your last GB Pound that environmental and science budgets will be at the bottom of the wish list so hang on to your hats as we see a massive change in land use. We must anticipate huge declines in wider countryside wildlife as the farming world tackles the challenge of working in world markets without subsidies. or, perhaps more likely, that agricultural subsidies will focus on giving UK agriculture leverage in world markets. Either way, we must work on the assumption that there will be little or no money for wildlife and it will be the natural environment that takes one of the biggest hits.

We cannot do much about the political decisions that lead to the loss of wildlife but we can do something to chart the effects of Brexit on Wildlife. That means that we MUST make sure that the changeover period is well-documented. So, anybody who cares about wildlife needs to start to properly record what they see. If we have an army of recorders whose combined data are there to tell a story, then we can at least show the environmental cost of Brexit and thus the need for new action.

This post is therefore a rallying cry to field naturalists to sharpen your pencils, get the specimen tubes and cameras ready and make sure that the data for the next ten years is as comprehensive as possible. Wildlife needs you more than ever - please don't let the natural environment down!

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