UK public: Politicians not doing enough to protect our life support systems - Extinction Rebellion UK

UK public: Politicians not doing enough to protect our life support systems


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As hundreds of thousands of people across the country prepare for what promises to be the biggest march to protect nature in a generation, new polling reveals that almost three-quarters of the public believe the government is failing to protect our country’s nature, threatening our very life support systems and biodiversity.

A new poll released today – International Day for Biodiversity – reveals that a staggering 71% of the UK public thinks the Government isn’t doing enough to protect the environment for the next generation. [1] Voters from all political sides think nature is not being protected adequately for future generations. The polls found that this includes 56% of Conservative voters, 86% of Labour voters and 80% of Liberal Democrat 2019 voters.

All major nature charities and climate and environmental groups in the UK are banding together to warn political parties today that their commitments to nature are falling far short, risking the lives of wildlife and the people of this country and the rest of the world. Together they are urging the public to join them in London in a month’s time on 22nd June to voice alarm at the state of UK nature and demand that politicians Restore Nature Now.

The warning comes ahead of an imminent announcement of the UK’s strategy to meet key international biodiversity agreements from COP15, to halt and restore nature loss and protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. With low expectations from nature groups that the plans will turn the tide for UK nature, it also comes hot on the heels of a warning from the National Audit Office last week, that the Government’s flagship Biodiversity Net Gain scheme may not have the measures in place to ensure its success.

Our politicians have a track record of allowing environment and climate destroying projects such as High Speed 2 (HS2), Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), the West Cumbria Coal Mine and Rosebank oil field to go ahead. It is clear beyond any doubt that protecting the lives of millions of people in and outside of the UK from climate and ecological breakdown is not a priority.

TV wildlife star Chris Packham will spearhead the Restore Nature Now march in London on 22nd June that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands people from campaign groups and nature conservation organisations including Extinction Rebellion, the RSPB, National Trust, Woodland Trust and the Wildlife Trusts.

Chris Packham, TV broadcaster and environmental campaigner, said: “The vast majority of people in the UK care deeply about protecting the environment for the future. We all want a better world for the next generation, but as this research shows we have no faith that our politicians will deliver the change nature needs. There has never been a more critical time for nature, wildlife numbers continue to fall and our wild places continue to deteriorate. We have to shout it from the rooftops that we must Restore Nature Now, and politicians from all parties need to hear us roar.”

Daze Aghaji, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion UK said: “The people know that the state of nature in the UK, and all over the world, is bad. And we know that none of us can survive if the natural world collapses. If we, ordinary people, know this and see how vital it is to act, why are our politicians not acting with the urgency that is needed? It is time that we all stand together and unite to protect and restore nature now, before it is too late.”

Over 170  organisations from across the UK are backing the Restore Nature Now demonstration on 22nd June to protest the poor state of nature in the UK and are united in calling on UK politicians to deliver:

– A pay rise for nature – the nature and climate-friendly farming budget doubled.

– Make polluters pay – new rules to make polluters contribute to nature and climate recovery

– More space for nature – to expand and improve protected areas, and ensure public land and National Parks contribute more to recovery.

– A right to a healthy environment –  an Environmental Rights Bill, which would drive better decisions for nature, improve public health and access to high-quality nature.

– Fair and effective climate action – increasing home energy efficiency, supporting active travel and public transport, and replacing polluting fossil fuels with affordable renewables.


Notes to editors:

  • Restore Nature Now is a legal, peaceful, inclusive and family-friendly demonstration, on 22 June 2024 in central London, which aims to be the biggest gathering of people for nature and climate that the UK has ever seen . It is both a celebration of British nature and a protest calling for urgent political action on the nature and climate emergencies. It is organised by the RSPB, Wildlife and Countryside Link, Extinction Rebellion, Chris Packham, the Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust, WWT, WWF-UK, the National Trust, Friends of the Earth and Plantlife.
  • Find out more about the 22 June Restore Nature Now demonstration at

  1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,054 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th – 16th May 2024..  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

  2. Additional quotes:

Hilary McGrady, Director-General at the National Trust, said: “The National Trust was established to promote the preservation of our historic and natural places for everyone to enjoy, forever.  We want every generation to experience the benefits nature can offer both our physical and mental wellbeing – and to grow up valuing and cherishing the UK’s precious wildlife.  To see so many of our natural places and treasured species remain in jeopardy is heartbreaking.  If we all want to see a nature-rich future for generations to come, then we need to stand up and be counted, and whoever forms the next Government should make nature recovery a priority.”

Dr Darren Moorcroft, Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust, said: “We are calling for environmental issues to be moved up right to the top of the political agenda, not just to make the country a greener place but a healthier place too. Our work has shown that where there is more nature and more trees, there are better health outcomes. And it’s not just us saying this – extensive research we carried out with GPs showed they believe investing in trees and nature could help improve the nation’s health and reduce the burden on the health service. There must be a greater, more urgent commitment from politicians to restore nature for the potentially life-giving benefits of a cleaner, greener world, ever more important due to the greater effects of climate change.”

Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, said: People care passionately about nature and many are clearly fed up that the decline of our natural world is being ignored. Some of us are furious. We need action not empty promises. Protecting wildlife and helping nature to recover must be top of the political to-do list to ensure future generations have a thriving natural world in which to live, healthy food, clean water and a stable climate. This is a critical moment and we’re uniting at the march to cry out: Restore Nature Now!”

Beccy Speight, RSPB chief executive, said:  “Millions of voters care deeply about the perilous state of our natural world, but as yet no political party has produced an actionable plan to turn things around. With legally binding targets for nature’s recovery in England by 2030, we urgently need a new chapter for nature that rewrites this story of decline. That’s why the RSPB is marching to Parliament on 22 June and urging all nature lovers to join us, because nature can’t wait any longer.”

Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link said: “The Government promised to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation, but this research shows that political action still falls far short of public expectation. Nature’s importance to the economy, food production and public health is undervalued, its protection is underfunded and serious investment is way overdue. That’s why we’re taking to the streets in just a month’s time, for the Restore Nature Now march, to speak up for our declining natural world.”

Rebecca Wrigley, Rewilding Britain CEO and nature campaigner, said: “People across Britain care deeply about our natural environment and the remarkable web of life it supports. Yet still we face a growing threat from the burgeoning climate and biodiversity crises. Our politicians need to act with the level of urgency this warrants, half measures and missed targets won’t cut it. There is hope and we can do this, but we need those that care passionately about our wildlife, about restoring our ecosystems and helping nature thrive again to come out onto the streets of London on June 22nd and demand with one voice that we must ‘Restore Nature Now’.


The State of Nature  report 2023 showed that:

  • The UK’s wildlife is continuing to decline – UK species have declined on average by 19% since 1970
  • Nearly one in six species are threatened with extinction from Great Britain
  • farmland birds have suffered particularly strong declines of on average 58%
  • Predatory insects, like the 2-spot Ladybird which help control crop pests, have declined by more than a third (34%)
  • The numbers of 13 species of seabird have fallen by an average of 24% since 1986
  • Distributions of 54% of flowering plant species and 59% of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) have decreased across Great Britain.
  • Mammals show a small long-term decline in average abundance, of 7%. Within this average change some species like Water Vole and Hazel Dormouse have declined dramatically, with Water Voles disappearing from 94% of their former sites and Hazel Dormouse numbers more than halving between 2000-2019.

About Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the sixth mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Related topics

biodiversity Extinction Rebellion politics Restore Nature Now

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