Sir John Lawton welcomed by the Wildlife Trusts in Wales

Thursday 19th November 2015

Pictured from left to right: Sir John Lawton; Sophie Howe; Carl Sargeant; Rachel Sharp

World renowned ecologist, Sir John Lawton, highlighted the importance of environmental legislation in Wales at an event at Tŷ Hywel last night.

Sir John, who is Chair of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, met Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant and Commissioner for Future Generations Sophie Howe in her first public event since the announcement of her new role.

At the event on Wednesday evening, Sir John, who has submitted evidence on the Environment (Wales) Bill as part of its first stage of scrutiny, outlined his hopes that new legislation will halt the loss of biodiversity.

Sir John, the author of ground-breaking report Making Space for Nature, also launched the Wildlife Trusts in Wales’ manifesto document. In Nature Matters, the Wildlife Trusts call for Welsh political parties to put nature on the agenda ahead of May’s elections.

The document explains how nature improves health and wellbeing and also acts as a catalyst for economic growth. As wild places have disappeared, levels of physical inactivity, obesity, heart disease, depression and type 2 diabetes have all increased.

Nature Matters asks political parties to provide the leadership and resources needed for nature’s recovery and better infrastructure to do this.

Sir John is Vice President of RSPB, a Life Fellow of WWF-UK, Fellow of the Royal Society and former Chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Speaking at the event, he said:

“I am deeply concerned about the state of nature. It is part of our heritage and our wildlife and wild spaces are disappearing at an alarming rate.

“We must act not only for nature’s sake but for people too. Access to high quality green spaces is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing and leads to happier employees and a healthier workforce. Nature is not a bolt-on; it is fundamentally important for economic development.”

Rachel Sharp, Chief Executive Officer for Wildlife Trusts Wales, said:

“The Wildlife Trusts in Wales are delighted to welcome Sir John Lawton to this event to highlight the importance of effective legislation to protect wildlife for future generations. Sixty percent of the species we know about are in decline and health problems will only continue to rise unless something is done to reverse this loss of wildlife and wild places.”

The reception was co-hosted by Jenny Rathbone AM and Alun Ffred Jones AM and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery who help to support the six Wildlife Trusts across Wales to deliver educational opportunities and events for local communities and schools, as well as maintaining nature reserves across the country.

Find out more about how the Wildlife Trusts in Wales think the next government should work with nature and read Nature Matters here.

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