A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Not known for overt protesting, a team of National Trust rangers from the South West joined colleagues from across the country to meet with their MPs at Parliament at the end of June, calling for them to pass ambitious new laws benefiting people and wildlife, and back efforts to halt climate change.

I jumped at the opportunity to join my fellow ranger colleagues to ‘bang the drum’ for wildlife and the environment, and headed off to the big city to play my part.
In the 25 years I have been working in conservation, I have noticed a dramatic decline in wildlife across The Lizard.  Despite some great successes in protecting iconic species such as the Cornish chough and other important habitats species and habitats unique to this part of Cornwall, overall the landscape has suffered a general decline in its value for wildlife.  This has largely been driven by agricultural intensification, inappropriate land use and pressures of an increasing population.  The coastal habitats and communities around the Lizard are being threatened by rising sea levels, unpredictable weather and increased storm activity. 

The Time is Now’ mass lobby was organised by Greener UK and the Climate Coalition to urge politicians to put in place policies to halt the UK’s contribution to climate change and ensure an upcoming Environment Bill includes ambitious legal requirements to improve air quality, protect wildlife and tackle plastic pollution.

In London, we were joined by thousands of people from around the country – including school children, nuns, farmers, doctors and surfers – urging MPs to back action on climate change.
The lobby was held following an announcement by the government that it will set in law a target of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to ‘net zero’ by 2050. To make this a reality, we need bold and ambitious measures, starting with locking up carbon in our natural environment by looking after soils and creating new woodlands and other semi-natural habitats. To tackle declines in nature, we also need a new, world-leading Environment Act with targets for healthy air, clean water, thriving wildlife and green spaces where people live.

Our local MP, Derek Thomas, spent a good 45 minutes listening to the issues we’re facing here on the Lizard and beyond. I was reassured that he was very sympathetic and supportive of our suggestions and he has signed up to the demands of Greener UK and the Climate Coalition.
All in all it was a very interesting and productive day and I am a little more confident that we could be the first generation that leaves our seas cleaner, cities less polluted, and wild places healthier than when we found them. But to do so, we need the government to take urgent action.

Published: July 2019
Author: Justin Whitehouse (National Trust Lead Ranger; The Lizard)