Cornwall seascape, Sam Mansfield

Champions for UK species in Parliament

2 minute read

We work with the RSPB on their Parliamentary Species Champion project. The project matches cross-party MPs with a variety of UK species in order to raise their profile within parliament and push for better protection for UK biodiversity.

Parliamentary Species Champion Awards

On Wednesday 22nd February, we attended a parliamentary reception to celebrate the Westminster Species Champions. Sally-Ann Hart, Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye is our species champion for seagrass and last night Sally-Ann won the award for Best Parliamentary Champion. We are very happy to see Sally-Ann recognised for her hard work representing conservation of seagrass.

As Chair of the Oceans All-Party Parliamentary Group, she leads a group of ocean-focused cross-party parliamentarians to promote research, understanding and awareness of the ocean’s role in tackling the current climate and biodiversity crisis. In addition, Sally-Ann recently led a Westminster Hall debate on climate change and biodiversity, providing a platform for parliamentarians to discuss the benefits of nature-based solutions to people and wildlife as well as a cost-effective tool against climate change.

Sally-Ann Hart MP, seagrass champion

Sally-Ann Hart speaking at the Species Champion Awards

Newest Fan in Westminster

Luke Pollard, Labour and Co-op MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport is our newest champion for the pink sea fan (Eunicella verrucosa).

Luke Pollard and Brendon Queiroz - pink sea fan champion 2

Luke Pollard with Public Affairs Assistant, Brendon Queiroz

Luke is currently Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces and previously held the position of Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He has a strong passion for the environment and our ocean and is a keen wild swimmer.

The pink sea fan is a slow growing, cold water coral that can be found in the UK, mainly in the southwest and west of Wales. The species help to form coral gardens which act as crucial breeding and feeding grounds for fish species which have conservation and commercial importance.

Brendon Queiroz, Public Affairs Assistant says: “We know that high levels of biodiversity are vital in the joint climate and nature crisis. We need UK and international governments to take immediate action to halt and reverse the detrimental impacts on our environment. With Luke Pollard as the voice for pink sea fans we know that the species will be well represented, and hope that the value of nature will be recognised.”