Press Release: 28 June

Dangerous delays to Welsh Government’s nature laws

Yesterday, the First Minister announced his commitment to meeting the initial demands of a Nature Positive Wales campaign and promised a White Paper by the end of 2023, but delayed new laws for nature.

This commitment to a White Paper is a step in the right direction but it lacks the urgency that the biodiversity and climate crises demands. After years of delay, new laws for nature in Wales were once again pushed back and nature continues to decline. 

David Kilner, Campaign Coordinator for Climate Cymru, said:

“This delay is genuinely dangerous. We all need to do everything we can to protect and restore the land and water around us. While we demand – and wait – for new laws, a national crisis is being left to our communities to address.” 

Over 350 organisations have been calling for legally-binding nature recovery targets and an independent environmental watchdog for Wales as part of a Nature Positive Bill, which they want introduced this year.

On 20 June, the campaign delivered one of the largest open letters that the Welsh Government has received and over 2,000 people sent messages to Mark Drakeford calling for action, without delay. 

This public pressure was felt during the debate in Welsh Parliament, with several Members of the Senedd (MSs) voicing their support and highlighting how important the campaign is to people across Wales.

Heledd Fychan, Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales Central, said: 

“We are losing biodiversity every day and every week that goes by without this legislation in place. Here in Wales, we are already behind post-brexit in terms of an environmental governance framework. We don’t even have the interim properly in place.”

Campaigners will use the widespread public and political support that the campaign has received to continue putting pressure on the Welsh Government to ensure they create a bold, ambitious Nature Positive White Paper.

Sam Ward, Head of Climate Cymru, said: 

“Our food system, climate, economy, health and wellbeing are all directly tied to a healthy biosphere. Nature is essential to the ongoing existence of a functional Welsh society. Scientists have made it absolutely clear that nature is in a state of emergency, and that Wales is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.” 

By introducing a Nature Positive Bill, campaigners say that Wales can halt the decline in nature and kickstart the recovery so it gains greater resilience and thrives within our lifetime.  

Dr Sharon Thompson, Head of Policy and Advocacy, RSPB Cymru: 

Yesterday, the Welsh Government committed to the right things, but at a painfully slow speed, and that delay has real consequences for nature and the people of Wales. But it’s not too late. The White Paper offers the potential to be a real step forward if it is dealt with as a priority. We will keep demanding bold action now, without delay.”

Sam Ward recently did a tour of Wales and had the opportunity to talk to communities all over the country:

“Many felt alone, like they were the only ones who cared, but I wish they could see what I felt as I travelled around – thousands of people in every corner of Wales, who cared deeply about our natural world. I’d really encourage anyone who cares about these issues to connect with local nature groups, and join Climate Cymru’s national movement for change.”

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