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Local Wildlife Trust lobbies Cumbrian MPs at Westminster

Charity staff among 12,000 who travelled to Westminster for historic natural environment and climate lobby with MPs outside Parliament

A strong contingent of Cumbrians - a high proportion of whom were staff and volunteers from Cumbria Wildlife Trust - travelled to London yesterday (26 June) to take part in the UK's largest-ever environmental mass lobby of Parliament. The Time is Now lobby aimed to express to MPs of all political backgrounds the passion and concern that we all have for the future of our county's wildlife and environment - and to call for urgent action to address the crisis in climate and wildlife.

An estimated 12,000 people met and discussed the issues with over 200 MPs. Cumbria Wildlife Trust staff met and had lively conversations with Rory Stewart MP, Sue Hayman MP, Tim Farron MP, John Stevenson MP and John Woodcock MP.

Kate Harnott, Senior Membership and Data Administrator at Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “It was great to see so many people standing up for wildlife. When we asked what message he’d give the next Prime Minister, Tim Farron MP replied that climate emergency is the biggest issue we face, bigger than Brexit. I really hope that the politicians have listened today and will take action.”

Emily Baxter, Senior Marine Conservation Officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “It was encouraging to see people from so many different organisations, in particular so many young people helping to make a difference now for their future. John Stevenson MP told me he was passionate about encouraging the Government to make it compulsory for all new houses to incorporate solar panels. Sue Hayman MP said that warm words weren’t enough, we need to take action and I discussed bringing forward the targets for reducing CO2 emissions with John Woodcock MP, as we need to act now, not some time in the future.”

Imogen Rutter, Reserve and Training Officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust met Rory Stewart MP. She said: “We’re grateful that he made the time in his busy schedule to chat to us. He told us that he would be doubling spending on climate change in his department (International Development), bringing in an extra £1bn. I hope this sends a message to the next Prime Minister that the environment should be at the very top of the next Government’s agenda.”

Cumbria Wildlife Trust took three key messages to the lobby:

The need for urgent action to avoid climate breakdown and to restore our natural environment.

The need for a strong Environment Act as we leave the EU - to drive nature's recovery and give impetus to the Government's 25-year environment plan.

The current CAP budget needs to be protected and spent on helping farmers and land managers to deliver public goods for society and deliver nature recovery networks, clean water and healthy soils that can hold carbon and slow the flow to reduce flooding.

Stephen Trotter, Chief Executive Officer of Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: "The message has never been clearer or louder or more pressing: all of the indicators show that our wildlife and natural environment is in trouble like never before. The alarm bells are ringing - and it's putting the future of our children, our economy, wildlife and our way of life at risk."

"The message from young people, like those from Grasmere Primary School who travelled down to London with us on the train, and voters is also loud and clear: now is the time, before it’s too late, for politicians to take serious and urgent action to act on climate breakdown and our wildlife emergency. Inaction and indifference from our politicians is no longer acceptable."

Stephen continued: "We've already squandered decades when we could have invested in repairing the damage we've caused - now we're running out of time and it’s becoming more urgent with every passing day. Politicians and Government have a responsibility to act now - we need effective legislation immediately along with the funding and resources to put nature into recovery. So it was great to meet Cumbrian MPs who listened carefully to the arguments and we look forward to them having an input into passing effective and strong Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture Acts as we leave the EU."

The Time is Now was organised by Greener UK – a coalition of UK environmental charities including The Wildlife Trusts – and The Climate Coalition.

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