According to the UK Green Party website the Green Party will try to achieve the following if they gain power at the 2010 general election:

CY500 It is not possible to protect species unless the many threats to habitats are stopped. The whole of the Green Party’s political programme is designed to create a society where these threats to the environment are ended. In particular our policies on agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy, transport and industry will lead to the end of the pollution of the air, land and water. Our policies on increased self-reliance and changes to our consumer-based lifestyle will ensure that we do not make environmentally damaging demands on the rest of the world. We will support at every level of the international community effective measures to protect the environment.

CY501 We support the European Community Commission’s Fourth Environmental Action Programme which, amongst others, aims to make the environment an essential element of all Community policies and extend this aim to all national policies. We will in addition:

a) Accelerate the programme timetable where environmental problems are pressing.

b) Extend the policy programme to include public availability of environmental information.

c) Reinstate the policy for resources within an overall strategy for the environment as a priority.

d) Ensure that the programme’s achievements and failures are fully assessed, and as a result make changes to realise the programme’s goals without lengthening its timetable.

CY502 The Wildlife and Countryside Act as the principal legislation for protecting the countryside has proved inadequate because:

a) Protection is given primarily to National Parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

b) Compensation is payable to farmers who are refused grant aid embodying the notion that there is an absolute entitlement to grants and other subsidies, whereas in the past they have been refused on grounds of technical or economic viability.

c) Compensation is based on estimates of profits foregone, even though the forecast higher level of production is speculative and not ecologically sustainable.

d) Compensation is paid out of the meagre budgets of conservation agencies or local authorities rather than of agricultural departments whose policies are being pursued.

CY503 The Wildlife and Countryside Act will be drastically overhauled:

a) The right of farmers to compensation for conservation orders will be repealed and positive measures to care for the countryside put in its place.

b) Habitat protection will be extended to the whole countryside.

c) The species protection clause will be clarified and strengthened and the legislation enforced.

CY504 We will implement International Wildlife Law contained in: The 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, the Special Protection Areas of the European Councils 1979 Birds Directive, and the 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

CY505 We would assist in the preparation of, and implement, a European Habitat Directive (recognised as a priority of the EEC Fourth Environmental Action Programme 1987-1992) which would oblige national governments to set up statutory frameworks for the protection of habitats and their associated plant and animal communities at local and regional levels using funds diverted from the Common Agricultural Policy. It would place a legal obligation upon Member States to carry out land use inventories for the purpose of identifying all areas of semi-natural and natural habitats.

CY506 Many wild plant species are collected from the wild for commercial sale with little or no knowledge of its impact on wild populations. We would support measures to introduce a European Wild Plants directive which would:

a) Give clear labelling on all living wild plant material traded within the European Community (EC) and in and out of the EC.

b) License all traders dealing with plant material that has been wild-collected.

c) Tighten up import and export controls on wild plants.

CY507 Estuaries are biologically one of the richest habitats. They are feeding grounds for more than half of Britain’s 1.5 million wintering wading birds (40% of all waders wintering each year in the whole of Europe) and are joined each year by hundreds of thousands of migrating wildfowl. These estuaries are important because:

a) They lie on the main migration route from both Greenland and Iceland and from Siberia to West Africa.

b) The British Isles offer the most northerly refuge from the prolonged freezing of continental Europe.

c) The large tidal range of our many estuaries provides exposed rich feeding areas.

Most of Britain’s internationally important estuaries have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and many qualify for international treaties such as the Ramsar Convention and the European directive on the conservation of wild birds. These estuaries are under threat from developments such as tidal barrages; large-scale dock developments, land reclamation, industrial pollution, recreation, oil exploration, an extremely vigorous hybrid spartina grass and other development. The Green Party will carefully think through the short- and long-term effects of all estuary developments and will agree to only those which offer overall ecological benefits.

CY508 The Green Party believes that these ‘developments’ will grow in number as our growth-obsessed society demands ever greater wealth to feed its industries and wasteful advertiser-induced consumer demand for ecologically destructive lifestyles. Until wealth creation is taken off its pedestal as the primary goal in society, and replaced by an ecologically sustainable society wildlife (despite laudable, one-off victories such as the purchase of nature reserves) stands little chance of long-term survival. We will in the short term:

a) Press for habitats to be given greater protection.

b) Assist consumer-led pressure for conservation, recycling and the introduction of consumer durable goods and plant that are energy efficient, non-polluting, long-lasting, well designed, repairable and upgradeable.

c) Develop ecologically sound strategic planning as a more sound alternative to growth orientated plans.

d) Oppose the relocation of environmentally damaging operations overseas. In the long-term the achievement of our ecologically sound and sustainable society will prevent such threats to the environment.

I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on UK Green Party’s Habitat and Species Protection policies in the comments below?