In light of our decision to leave the European Union the Countryside Alliance is asking the question ‘Where next for nature?’.

We have invited contributions from individuals and organisations from a range of backgrounds who have a wealth of experience and knowledge of the countryside and wildlife to help inform and stimulate this important debate.

The Countryside Alliance recognises that our wildlife laws are in need of updating and that leaving the EU is an opportunity for us to shape new laws specifically for the UK. For the past 40 years the framework of our wildlife law has been largely determined by the EU. Although in many areas UK law provides far greater protection than the minimum standards required by the EU, EU legislation tends to start from a protectionist principle where everything is protected and then certain things are allowed. This approach reflects European legal systems which work on the basis that the law positively tells you what you can do, rather than the UK common law position that you are free to do as you like unless the law says otherwise.

There have definitely been significant improvements for the environment and wildlife which should be continued and developed outside the EU, but in developing new wildlife laws perhaps the starting point should no longer be protectionist but about management. The assumption should be that all species should be managed as appropriate, and protection is afforded as and when necessary. We have an important opportunity to review our approach to wildlife protection and develop a sustainable and humane wildlife management policy. This collection of essays is a start at answering the questions: What principles should underpin our approach; how can this be delivered in practice; and from which perspective should wildlife laws be framed?

During and after the Brexit transition the Countryside Alliance believes it is important that wildlife laws are given due care and attention, and that the opportunity to shape, challenge, and expand existing laws is seized upon. This is an opportunity to get wildlife law on the agenda and to encourage open debate. We will be focussing on a contribution every few weeks and invite you to get involved. Please comment below the featured article, send us a video or even send in your own contribution for discussion. We will be reviewing all contributions with a view to presenting the findings to government in the Summer

We hope you all will feel able to contribute to this ongoing discussion. We will focus on an individual’s contribution every few weeks.  Click the contributors below to read their essays and add your comments to our discussion by emailing [email protected]

Wildlife Law: The Big Conversation

Meet the contributors

Download the full collection of Wildlife Law essays

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