4th Dec, 2016

Wildlife is better protected in the EU says former environment secretary

Solihull Editorial 14th Jun, 2016 Updated: 24th Oct, 2016

FORMER Environment Secretary and Meriden MP, Caroline Spelman has said the West Midlands’ ‘best-loved’ wildlife and habitats are better protected in the EU.

Speaking ahead of the EU Referendum on June 23, Ms Spelman joined leading environmental charities in warning voters some of the regions natural habitats and threatened species could be at risk if the UK votes to leave the EU.

Her calls follow the RSPB and WWF setting out the positive impact European legislation has had on the environment, and urging members to vote for Britain to remain in the EU.

The EU’s nature conservation laws give special status to local habitats areas, such as Cannock Chase and the River Wye, which protects them from over-development and pollution.

And local wildlife such as otters and bats also benefit from strong EU protections that apply right across Europe.

Commenting on the role of the EU, Caroline Spelman said: “As Secretary of State for the Environment, I saw first-hand how our membership of the European Union allows us to tackle the important environmental issues which transcend national boundaries together.

“Current measures, which are at risk if the UK votes to leave the European Union, help protect our distinct landscapes from over development and climate change.

“They have also supported the recovery of some of our most treasured wildlife, including the otter population; which was in a steep declining in the late 1970s due to the effects of local water pollution.”

Ms Spelman said international problems such as acid rain has been ‘all but eliminated’ in the UK thanks to European agreements.

She added: “Sadly, Leave campaigners have made no secret of their desire to water down these vital environmental protections which will otherwise put many outstanding areas of natural beauty at risk.

“We must not let them throw away all the progress that has been made in protecting our shared nature and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.”