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Environment minister visits Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

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Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie was joined by environment minister Trudy Harrison for a visit to the WWT Slimbridge on World Wetlands Day last week.

Ms Baillie, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wetlands, and the minister toured the site on Thursday.  They met with WWT Chief Executive Sarah Fowler, WWT experts and DEFRA civil servants. 

The group discussed the benefits of the APPG campaigns and different types of wetland that can store up to 18% more carbon than forests.

The minister was also told 40% of wildlife rely on wetlands, they are good for flood prevention and for humans there are powerful benefits to health and mental wellbeing.

“Many thanks to WWT Slimbridge for allowing the minister to come and see some of the brilliant work it is undertaking on our doorstep here in Stroud and across the UK and world to help wildlife, biodiversity, climate change and carbon capture,” said Ms Baillie.

“Wetlands are increasingly being recognised for their importance in tackling climate change.  I am delighted the government has indicated it wants to force developers to use the SuDS – sustainable drainage systems – in new housing with wetlands as a vital component of how new-build homes can actually enhance the environment through the use of wetland areas to prevent flooding and promote biodiversity.

“I am so pleased that we were able to show the minister how beautiful and fascinating Slimbridge is locally and nationally.  She was really engaged with the work of the WWT and genuinely interested in how wetlands can help the UK meet its environmental targets.

“This approach was very clear in the government’s Environmental Improvement Plan announced last week with further measures to help to improve wildlife and air and water quality.”

The minister added: ” I was delighted to visit WWT Slimbridge on Thursday for World Wetlands Day. Wetlands do so much for us and for nature – they prevent biodiversity loss, support wildlife such as migratory birds on their long journeys, as well as help to tackle climate change and manage its impacts.

“Protecting, managing and restoring healthy wetlands is an important part of the vision to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it, and we will be delivering on that through our comprehensive Environmental Improvement Plan. Wetland areas can also support our commitment to protect at least 30 percent of land and sea for nature by 2030 and create more beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy”

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