Last year, Chancellor George Osborne, in his autumn statement, described the legal regulations protecting wildlife sites as a ‘burden' and a ‘ridiculous cost' on British businesses. Now, with the Chancellor due to give his budget statement next week, the RSPB is asking you to take action to get the Chancellor to put the environment at the heart of the UK's economic recovery. As part of RSPB's campaign to 'wake up' the Chancellor to the importance of nature, they have created a video showing George Osborne ‘dreaming' of advocating for a better environment with the support of his peers.
In 1994, the Habitats Regulations brought in by a Conservative government made protecting wildlife part of UK law. This meant that under the European Habitats Directive, major developments could not be allowed to destroy important wildlife sites. Since then, major developments have come and gone, with the legislation proving to have no negative impact on growth or development.
In his statement last autumn, the Chancellor indicated that he believed that business aims should trump the environment. Addressing Parliament, he said: ‘I am worried about the combined impact of the green policies adopted not just in Britain but also by the European Union... If we burden [British businesses] with endless social and environmental goals - however worthy in their own right - not only will we not achieve those goals but the businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer.'
The RSPB have expressed their concerns that while economic recovery is important, protecting the environment is vital too and a choice between the two should not have to be made. The RSPB wants the Chancellor to encourage green growth and stimulate green jobs - a true win-win situation for the economy and the environment. Conservation groups are worried, though, that the Chancellor will follow through with plans to reduce some of the regulations on protected plants and habitats and allow the planning system to ride roughshod over wildlife and the natural environment.
TAKE ACTION: Visit RSPB's website to email the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Transport and your local MP and urge them to encourage the Chancellor to use his budget statement to discuss why green growth and green jobs matter to our economic recovery.
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