Ensuring Nature and Climate Leadership: Key Issues for the Next UK Government

With the UK General Election rapidly approaching, we are calling on our supporters to challenge party candidates on their plans for nature and climate. All scientific evidence indicates, that without a paradigm shift in our approach, we will have a future of routine flooding, droughts, extreme temperature events, and catastrophic biodiversity loss. Yet parties of all colours continue to treat nature and climate issues as trivial with them barely getting a look in party manifestos.

Health, education, the economy and lifting people out of poverty are all dependant on a clean and healthy natural environment.

We cannot accept complacency over nature and climate. It is crucial to demand that these critical areas receive the priority they deserve. While many environmental powers are devolved, the Westminster Government still has significant responsibilities to support nature in Scotland and across the UK. We must make our voices heard and ensure our leaders take decisive action now. Here are some of the key issues that we believe require urgent action:

Global Leadership on Biodiversity

This decade is critical for ecosystem restoration, and the UK must lead by example. The next Westminster Government will represent the UK on the international stage, holding a pivotal role in promoting ambitious global biodiversity initiatives. By not only championing but delivering robust biodiversity policies, which aim to tackle the nature and climate crises together, the government can influence global standards. How do party candidates plan to strengthen the UK’s role in global biodiversity efforts?

Agricultural Funding

Agricultural policies and funding have significant impacts on the environment. It is crucial that the next government ensures fair rural budgets that support farmers to deliver nature-friendly farming practices and nature-based solutions. This approach not only benefits biodiversity but also helps mitigate climate change and promote sustainable farm businesses and food security. The allocation of UK agriculture budgets affects the devolved administrations, so a collaborative effort across all governments is necessary. How do candidates hope to strengthen these relationships so that we have a coherent approach to tackle the nature and climate crises?

Field of dairy cows
Field of dairy cows © Peter Cairns 2020/Vision


Peatlands play a vital role in carbon sequestration and biodiversity. The IUCN UK Peatland Programme has made significant strides in coordinating peatland restoration across the UK. However, the continued extraction and importation of peat for horticultural use undermines these efforts and hinders the UK’s ability to meet its net zero targets. The next UK Government must work with devolved administrations to end the sale of peat for horticulture and ban its importation as soon as possible. Are candidates demonstrating their commitment to protecting peatlands and achieving net zero emissions?

Peat bog © Mark Hamblin 2020VISION

Reform of the Internal Market Act

The Internal Market Act poses a potential threat to environmental policy innovation by setting uniform rules that might limit the devolved administrations’ ability to implement ambitious environmental measures (for an example of this in relation to the Deposit Return Scheme please see here). To ensure that environmental policies can thrive, the Act must be reformed to exempt environmental measures from its rules. This change would empower devolved governments to pursue environmental initiatives without being constrained by the Act, allowing them to make the best environmental decisions for their country. How will candidates champion policies that are more positive for the environment?

Please take action

As the election approaches, we encourage you to engage with candidates on these issues. By asking direct questions about their plans in relation to the environment, we can emphasise the vital importance of nature and climate action. Our long-term wellbeing and the future of our environment depends on the decisions made today, and it is up to us to hold our leaders accountable.

For a thriving, biodiverse future, we must make nature and climate central topics in this election. Your voice is essential to drive the urgent change needed for a sustainable and resilient future.

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With the UK General Election rapidly approaching, we are calling on our supporters to challenge party candidates on their plans for nature and climate. All scientific evidence indicates, that without …

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