Bird Nesting Sites: Protection DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
John McNallyMain Page: John McNally (Scottish National Party) - Falkirk)
(1 year, 4 months ago)Westminster Hall
I totally agree. We cannot meet our housing need, which I think we all agree we have to secure for our fellow citizens, at the expense of evicting wildlife or birds. We have to embrace them. Innovative ways have been suggested for how we can host them and make them part of our lives and part of our communities, because they are part of the planet and we need to share it. On that kindly note, I shall end my speech.
I congratulate the Morans for initiating the debate and for putting the issue on the agenda in the way that they have; I assume these are the Morans in the Gallery. We have heard about the massive decline in bird numbers in this country—14 million in the last 50 years, according to the RSPB. Habitat loss is a big part of that, and netting is increasingly a part of habitat loss. It may not be the biggest part, but does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is without doubt the crudest demonstration of, at best, our disregard for the natural world, and at worst the ongoing war against nature that we have seen in this country, which has massively reduced our biodiversity and which needs to be addressed, if necessary through legislation?
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms McDonagh. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mike Hill) on introducing the debate in the way he did and on setting out the need for urgent action to stop the cruel and inhumane practice of netting of bird nesting sites. Every bird matters, and because our wildlife does not have a political voice of its own, it is important that we in this place provide that voice. Today, the Minister will have heard a comprehensive and cross-party argument—on both sides of the House—as to why this cruel practice needs to be stopped and why measures need to be taken to discourage not only developers but, as a number of colleagues have said, the public sector and public organisations from using this practice.
Humans are threatening our planet’s wildlife. They are causing huge and potentially irreversible climate change, and we all need to do something to stop it. A few weeks ago, the House agreed to a Labour motion declaring a climate emergency. The emergency is not just about carbon. Although it is about carbon, it is also about species loss, habitat decline and the pollution of our seas and waterways and our atmosphere. All of that needs to be taken together. When it comes to habitat decline, netting around bird nesting sites is a contributor to the wider issue of habitat loss—a point made by the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith). From the bees that pollinate our crops, to the forests that hold back flood waters, the report published last week by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reveals how humans are ravaging the very ecosystems that support our society.
It is not a coincidence that the same quote has been given by both a Labour and a Conservative Member of Parliament:
“We cannot keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces or demanding it fits in with our plans.”
We need cross-party consensus that we will not accept any form of economic behaviour without a plan as to how it will protect our environment.