Ocean waves breaking on beach

Party conferences: What Labour and the Tories had to say

2 minute read

Brendon Queiroz

Brendon Queiroz, Public Affairs Assistant

14 Oct 2022

With Prime Minister Truss focused on crises such as soaring energy costs and inflation, the UK Government’s plans to deal with these issues includes a very worrying #AttackOnNature with the deregulation of crucial existing EU laws.

We recently attended both the Labour and the Conservative Party Conferences. Our Public Affairs team went to events, met with parliamentarians, and listened to speeches from MPs about their commitments to improving our state of nature.

While the environment featured heavily on both party's agendas – more so than in previous years – we now need the talk and promises to turn into action.

Party Conference 2022

Credit: Brendon Queiroz

We spoke with MPs and other environmental NGOs about the climate and biodiversity crises, and the top issues we’re focusing on, such as Marine Unprotected Areas, sustainable fishing and chemical pollution.

We discussed with decision makers how important it is to recognise a healthy natural environment - both land and marine - as vital in supporting long-term economic growth and part of the solution to the climate crisis through ‘nature-based solutions’.

Rayner - party conference 2022

Credit: Brendon Queiroz

Labour

In conversations with Labour MPs, they agreed that nature doesn’t have to be seen as an additional cost or issue, but as a solution.

Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, was strong with his messaging that it’s cheaper to save the planet than it is to destroy it.

From the talks we were involved in, it seems that the environment has moved to a more central focus, which is positive news.

ed miliband - labour party conference 2022

Credit: Brendon Queiroz

Although land-based environments are still coming out on top when compared to marine, it’s an improvement from a time when our ocean wasn’t even mentioned or considered.

We’ll continue to push hard and advocate for the marine environment to be recognised as equal, and to be rightly treated as such.

Conservative:

It’s been a turbulent few weeks for our new PM, with shock announcements of a new economic growth agenda sending the financial markets into turmoil.

So, it wasn’t too much of a surprise that some cracks appear to be forming within the party, both in parliament and between its supporters, with different views on what should be done now.

Conservative Party conference - 2022

Credit: Brendon Queiroz

The Government’s new ‘Growth Plan’ extends through to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which is responsible for our marine environment. We know the environment underpins all long-term economic growth and believe growth shouldn’t come at a cost of the environment.

It’s in their hands:

We look forward to working with decision makers in all political parties across the UK. The climate and environmental crises are so urgent they go beyond one political party and beyond our own shores. We need all political parties, in all governments around the world to work together to deliver solutions and good environmental management.

The natural world is a limited resource and ecosystems cannot continue to both provide resources such as fish and clean up our waste without eventually breaking down due to human impact. Our ocean doesn’t have time to wait for governments to do the right thing. It needs action now.

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