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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Environmental Leadership tests!

Green groups set tests for environmental leadership.

Group members may be interested to see the Wildlife Trust taking a positive step in fighting for wildlife in Somerset. A full account of this action can be seen on the Trusts web site. Click here.

SOMERSET Wildlife Trust is joining forces with the UK’s leading environmental groups to throw down the gauntlet to the three main political parties on six critical environmental issues.

This initiative is supported by the CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Green Alliance, National Trust, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, and WWF.

"The parties must develop policies commensurate with the scale of the challenges facing us in relation to climate change, the countryside and wildlife.

"The public and business want more from politicians. We hope that all parties will meet The Green Standard.”

Simon Nash, chief executive of Somerset Wildlife Trust, added: "We need strong leadership now to save our environment. And the public is ready to follow: concern for the environment now leads the list of public concerns at 44 per cent. But what does strong leadership mean? It means our leaders must commit to stitch the countryside back together to allow wildlife to adapt to climate change, and provide strong protection for our seas."

"It means getting planning right. It means getting urban regeneration right. It means getting farming right. It means getting the Marine Bill right. Above all it means boldness, vision and resolve."

The Green Standard: Tests for environmental leadership

UK action on climate change

Achieve reductions in UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of at least 3% year on year, en route to a low-carbon economy based on energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy and decentralised energy.

International action on climate change
Provide international leadership to restrict global temperature rises to 2°C and ensure worldwide emissions are falling by 2015.

Green living

Make it cheaper and easier for individuals to reduce their environmental impact through tax, regulation, information and other powers of government.

Natural environment
Protect and enhance the beauty, accessibility and wildlife of the environment in our countryside, towns and seas through incentives, regulation, investment and other powers of government.

Value, support and develop our planning system as a democratic tool for protecting and enhancing the natural and built environment of our countryside and towns.

Environmental tax and subsidies

Green the tax system by increasing the amount of revenue from taxes that reduce environmental damage, and eliminate environmentally perverse subsidies.

Further Information:

In an environmental leadership initiative, the groups, which command more than five million supporters, will address a panel of David Miliband MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Chris Huhne MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary and Peter Ainsworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment and launch a series of tests against which they will judge the three main parties in the lead-up to the next General Election.

The nine groups behind today’s initiative will publish regular assessments of the main political parties’ environmental performance, and mobilise their members behind the tests.

The first assessment of the parties’ performance against the tests will be published in September this year, ahead of the annual party conferences. The final assessment will be published prior to the next General Election.

The launch of The Green Standard: Tests for environmental leadership will be on Tuesday 27 February, 10.30 -12.30, at Local Government House, Smith Square, London. The event will be chaired by Edward Stourton and spokespersons attending will be David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary and Peter Ainsworth, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment.

News update

I recently sent this email to about 80 members and friends of the Somerset
Wildlife Trust, Heart of the Levels Group for information.

1) Here are details of our next public meeting on March 8th.

Farming and wildlife are inseparable in Somerset. We expect to hear how
FWAG spreads good practice that enables farmers to successfully utilise
their land to generate an acceptable income whilst managing their farms to
provide habitats and food for wildlife.We hope the meeting will help us
understand how this can be achieved.

Statement from the FWAG web site:
"The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) is the UK's only independent
and dedicated provider of environmental and conservation advice and
consultancy to farmers and crofters. Formed in 1969, FWAG has grown into a
network of 120 highly skilled Farm Conservation Advisers located within 55
regional and county groups across the UK."


Farming and Wildlife in Somerset

a talk by Adam Lockyear from FWAG

Somerset's Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group

Thursday March 8th 7.30pm

United Reformed Church Hall, West Street, Somerton

All welcome.

Cost £1.50 including refreshments.

Free Parking in Somerton main car park

Presented by The Heart of the Levels Group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust.


2) We are pleased to pass on an invitation from the RSPB. We have suggested Sat April 14th . There will be a limit on the numbers that can be accommodated on any one visit but I'm sure we could arrange a second tour if

An invitation from the West Sedgmoor Office of the RSPB to join a conducted tour of their new reserve at Grey Lake and with the option to start with a tour of the West Sedgemoor Reserve famous for its heronry and water fowl.

"I recently lead a group from the Wells SWT around the Greylake Nature
Reserve and thought it would be a good idea to make contact and invite
yourself and the Heart of the Levels group on a guided visit too.

It would be great to meet the group and to show you the work that the RSPB
has been doing in this area, talk about our conservation management
priorities and have a look at some of the wildlife that is benefiting from
our work - as well as to hear your views and thoughts and priorities.

If you like we could also visit the West Sedgemoor Reserve and see the
heronry and the woodlands and talk about management for dormice, hedgerow
management for butterflies, hay meadows etc etc. The two reserves are only
15 mins apart, and we could spend 1- 2hrs at each site with a lunch stop
somewhere maybe?

I see from your website that you have a relatively full programme of events
in the near future - but if you like the sound of this, then suggest a date
and we will see what we can sort out.

Spring, summer or autumn or next winter would all be fine - there is plenty
to see/talk about at all times of year - although obviously some times are
better for access and for seeing wildlife than others!"


3) I recently emailed our committee on the subject of finding members
who have completed the basic First Aid course and who will be prepared to
join our walks and reserve visits. This note is to extend the request to a
wider group of our membership.

"The local Red Cross run a basic first aid course. They ask for a donation of £35 per person for a one day course and will be running one on March 25th but need to know soon to confirm.
Please let me know if you wish to join this course or a future one if this
date is inconvenient. We do need some additional first aiders to be able to
organise walks etc. If you do the course there is no obligation to join our walks but
we hope you will, subject to availability on any given date."