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Sarah Champion

Sarah Champion, Labour candidate for Rotherham answers our questions

In the run up to the General Election we emailed all candidates for the constituency of Rotherham with a series of questions about nature and the environment.

Of all the candidates, only Sarah Champion, the Labour Party candidate and previous sitting MP for the constituency responded. Here is a list of all the candidates for Rotherham constituency:

Dennis Bannan (Yorkshire Party)
Adam Carter (Liberal Democrats)
Sarah Champion (Labour)
Paul Hague (Brexit Party)
Gerri Hickton (Conservative)

Here is the response we received from Sarah Champion:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to your questions about wildlife in our local area. I have always been a supporter of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, you do brilliant, important work.

The Labour Party has demonstrated our commitment to this issue by publishing ‘A Plan for Nature, a manifesto for the environment.’ This manifesto sets out in detail the current crisis and the comprehensive steps Labour will take to arrest and reverse the decline of our natural environment. I would urge anyone interest in our wildlife and natural environment to look up the manifesto and study the detail of our proposals.

Question one: ecological emergency

To address the ecological emergency, a Labour government will invest nearly £10 billion over the next ten years to restore nature, recovering our islands’ biodiversity and protecting vulnerable habitats and species both on land and in the seas around us.

Labour are committed to restoring our peatlands, salt marshes and grass lands so that our species are able to recover and thrive.

For bird life, we will implement recommendations from the third review of Special Protected Areas, including measures to protect the Little Egret, the reintroduced Osprey, White-tailed Eagle and Red Kite, and non-breeding gulls and raptors in coastal areas.

To arrest the alarming decline in insects, we will reform the food and farming system as unless we change our ways of producing food, we risk insect extinction within decades.

For hedgehogs, we will provide connecting corridors in rural and urban hedgehog habitats.

For red squirrels, we will support conservation projects in the Isle of Wight and Cumbria, and monitor the reintroduction of pine martens in the Forest of Dean and Northern England. We will set aside areas of our enlarged forestry plantations and replanted native woodlands to provide suitable habitats for squirrel and pine martens populations.

For natterjack toads, one of only two species of native toad in the United Kingdom, our Nature Restoration projects in saltmarshes and coastal estuaries will help provide the habitats for more reintroductions.

Question two: legislation

Regarding legislation, a Labour government will introduce an Environment Emergency Act with revised standards for a healthy natural environment. The law will establish duties on public authorities to act for the recovery of nature, underpinned by ambitious targets to drive its restoration.

We will also establish the Office of Environmental Protection as an independent, fully resourced watchdog with transparent governance processes and Parliamentary accountability.

Question three: protection of wild places from development

Regarding the protection of wild places from development, a Labour government will fully integrate environmental considerations into our planning systems and develop better assessment tools to avoid environmental harm and gain biodiversity.

In addition to our intensified efforts to recover forests, peatbogs and saltmarshes, Labour will – at least – maintain all the habitat protection and nature restoration efforts in the other vulnerable habitats found within existing UK Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs) included in the Bern Convention’s Emerald Network of protected areas. We will also consider strengthening the management requirements for all existing protected sites and assess the case for establishing new sites to protect more vulnerable habitats.

Question four: farming and nature’s recovery

Agriculture is a key part o