Sir David Attenborough urges UK to accept Brexit and use it as an opportunity to protect Britain's wildlife

'Like it or not Brexit has happened,' says the naturalist

Maya Oppenheim
Thursday 15 September 2016 10:54
The report found that more than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction
The report found that more than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction

In stark contrast to the doom and gloom-filled discussions surrounding Brexit, Sir David Attenborough has urged the government to use the vote to leave the European Union as an opportunity to go further in protecting Britain’s nature and wildlife.

The naturalist and pillar of British broadcasting argued it was time for the public to accept Britain had voted to leave the EU even if they feel unhappy about the decision.

Sir David said Brexit provided a window of opportunity to revise British legislation to be more in line with our distinct locality.

“Like it or not Brexit has happened. All agriculture and environment treaties for nature and wildlife will have to be rethought. It’s a great opportunity to refine the legislation to match our part of the world,” the 90-year-old said to a crowd of conservationists at the launch of the 2016 State of Nature report.

The comprehensive scientific report, which brings together data and expertise from over 50 conservation organisations, including the National Trust, the RSPB, the Marine Conservation Society and the Natural History Museum, showed the UK was one of the most “nature-depleted countries” in the world. It found that more than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction and the numbers of the nation’s most endangered creatures have plunged by two-thirds since 1970.

“The report is very important,” explained said Sir David. “Our wonderful nature is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before. This document produces facts and figures. We are living at a time of climate change so we need to know what is happening to wildlife. It gives us a huge opportunity. I hope we can take it".

In the immediate aftermath of Britain voting to leave the EU, he voiced his concern for the environment. After being probed by The Guardian about the impact Brexit would have on the environment, he said: “That is sad. Swallows aren’t members of the union, and migrant birds and so on.”

Nevertheless, he said he hoped environmental issues would carry on being a global and collaborative focal point, saying: “One just hopes that collaboration on these issues, conservation issues, will transcend political divisions".

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