EU referendum – leaving the EU could benefit wildlife & the environment

Numbers of British birds have declined since we've been in the EU due to habitat destruction.

Numbers of British birds have declined due to habitat destruction. Mass migration increases the need to build on countryside and destroy habitats.

Last month, the BBC reported that the Indian capital, Delhi, had begun a second round of car rationing, to curb excessive air pollution levels. Meanwhile, in the UK, the government’s being sued again over breaches in air pollution. One wonders whether we’ll soon see car rationing in British cities too. Oxford’s over the limit. Southampton is over the limit. London, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow are among those over the limit, and some reports estimate it will remain a problem until 2030, and beyond. Without discounting the contribution to this problem by industry, on the roads, we have too many people, driving too many cars. We don’t need more people. Our population is too high already.

So while some people are saying there is no environmental argument for leaving the EU, I’d beg to differ. Burgeoning, uncontrolled population growth, contributes to air pollution, habitat destruction, traffic congestion, and poses a serious threat to our environment and our wildlife.

When I was a kid there were more birds, more wildlife, all around us, but their numbers have declined dramatically as concrete, bricks and tarmac have encroached upon the countryside. All the while we’ve been in the EU, the numbers of people in the UK have steadily grown and we’ve seen a decrease in the abundance and diversity of British wildlife. This is due to habitat destruction, modern farming methods, and simply from having too many people. Building on our countryside to house the growing population, surely does more harm to wildlife and habitats, than any political policy.

For me, the Brexit vote is not about economics. It’s about quality of life and what kind of country we want to live in, in the future. It’s about my town doubling in size, partly to accommodate mass migration.

It’s about the destruction of countryside to build more and more housing. It’s about not being able to move on the roads because we’re over-populated already. Not because we need more roads.

It’s about keeping air pollution to safe levels, and keeping what’s left of our green and pleasant land, green and pleasant. Not a concrete jungle.

When more people move into the UK, they all need a place to live, so we need more houses. Over a million more houses by 2020, and then some more. This results in habitat destruction for wildlife, whose numbers have already crashed in recent years… due to there being too many people. With every migrating family come more cars, and more air pollution. Air pollution is now thought to cause 30,000 premature deaths every year in the UK.

And where will it end? It won’t, because if migration continues at the current rate, and in reality it’s likely to accelerate, there will be no end to the destruction of the countryside. We didn’t veto Romania joining, so it’s unlikely that we’d veto Turkey joining when the EU decides the time is right. All these people need homes and have families that need homes. It’s that simple. So if it gets that bad, we can leave later? No. Because by then, the migrant numbers will swing the vote.

But would a leave vote now, mean the government opts for a less ambitious approach to the environment in areas like air pollution, recycling, and conservation? I honestly don’t know, but at least the British people will have a chance to vote for a government that can make these decisions. We’d still be committed to existing emmission reductions through Kyoto and international agreeements.

The alternative is guaranteed unlimited migration that will increase air pollution, increase consumption and rubbish, and add to the devastation that we’re already seeing in terms of wildlife conservation, by destroying more habitats and building on our countryside. That problem is not going to get better by throwing open to the borders to even more people.

I’m not saying migrants are to blame for all our problems. I’m only saying that high levels of migration is a contributory factor to the growing population problem, and that migration needs to be controlled.

300,000 more people came to live in the UK in the past year, than left the UK to live elsewhere. That means 300,000 more people need homes and transport. That number grows every year. They’re not all from the EU, but many are. Anyone who thinks that 300,000 people have no impact on the environment, is surely mistaken.

An orchard and woodland near my home has been flattened to make way for flats. The builders are there now. It’s not just a threat. It’s actually happening right now. It’s true that there are dozens of other factors driving the need for more housing, like divorce rates, an aging population, and more people living alone, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the impact of our open border policy to Europeans, which is significant too.

So to me, the vote is not about economics. It’s important to put quality of life, the countryside, health, and wildlife diversity first.

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3 Responses

  1. Ben Wright Ben Wright says:

    There are obviously two sides to any argument, however i am not convinced the argument you have put forward here. You attack on migrants is very weak tbh, were is your evidence that migration causes damage to the environment? Brits having too many children is a MUCH greater threat. Obviously it is possible that if we were to rule ourselves we could increase our conservation measures, but we wont. I haven’t even heard increased environmental issues used even one as a reason for voting to leave (excuse me if im wrong).. What is much more likely is that things such as renewable energy and conservation will be reduced. Being in the EU at least means they have to stay at a certain level. There is no reason why environmental efforts cant be increased whilst in the EU, but are they? almost all of germanys electricity is via renewables, why not britains? . Using immigrants as a scapegoat is tbh pretty silly, as the UK have many times more people living abroad within the EU ‘stealing’ their jobs and ‘ruining’ their country than any other in the EU (over 2 million) … how will it impact them?

    • Susie Kearley Susie Kearley says:

      Too many people are the threat – British born or otherwise. Yes, people having children adds to the population. We have too many people here. It’s a real challenge.

      There are measures in place to increase green energy – subsidies and incentives. It’s true that some green taxes have been cut recently, which is sad. I’d love to see 100% green energy. I applaud solar farms and wind farms, and I lobby in favour of such things locally, while everyone else seems to be against them! Although I understand why that’s controversial too.

      Germany is a bigger country, so perhaps they have fewer ‘nimbys’ objecting to green energy developments, because they’re out of sight (they have more land mass). I don’t know the details on that one I’m afraid.

      Our population is growing at an alarming rate and we have too many people. This is bad for wildlife/pollution/environment. It doesn’t matter where the people come from. That is my argument. You don’t have to agree with it, but there are two arguments on the Remain side on this website. And I wanted some balance.

  1. 30th June 2016

    […] EU referendum – leaving the EU could benefit wildlife, by Susie […]

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