This [Friday] morning, we awoke to news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union.
I know that many of you will feel strongly about the result, however I wanted to explain how the RSPB is planning to respond.
The RSPB has always believed that, because nature transcends national boundaries, it needs cross-border co-operation to protect it and a common set of international standards that enable it to thrive.
That is why, now the UK has decided to leave the EU, the RSPB believes the UK must continue to act internationally, and look to forge comprehensive international agreements for nature conservation and the environment.
We must not lose the current, hard won, level of legal protection enjoyed by nature. Preferably we should be looking to improve the implementation of existing legal protection and, where necessary, to increase it.
Whilst the quality of the debate during the campaign varied, the environment did feature. We are proud to have played our part in ensuring it was not overlooked or sidelined.
A big thank you to every member of staff and volunteer who helped to bring this about.
Millions of people in the UK love nature
It is clear that there are millions of people in the UK who love nature. We all want to see clean air and water for future generations, as well as an attractive countryside rich in wildlife.
It will now be down to the governments in Westminster, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to deliver it.
We will continue to be a voice for nature, raising the importance of environmental issues that impact on people, wildlife and the economy. We will provide a constructive challenge to all the UK’s governments where necessary, and give credit where it is due; just as we always have done. And, of course, we shall work internationally – as we have for over 100 years – and will continue to act across Europe with our Birdlife International partners to tackle the challenges facing nature.
The RSPB will play an active role in this new debate as it unfolds over the next months and years.
Rest assured, we shall continue to do whatever nature needs.