What do the Marsh Fritillary, Willow Tit, Smooth Snake and Round-headed Rampion have in common?
These are all species ‘adopted’ by MPs as part of the MP Species Champions project. The aim of the project is to encourage a collaborative approach between Parliament and wildlife organisations to help halt and reverse species population declines.
Organisations have partnered with MPs who have chosen to champion species of constituent or personal interest, the initiative currently involves 42 MPs who are championing a variety of species including Small Copper, Puffin and Sea Bass. There are similar projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Butterfly Conservation has six MPs who are standing up for butterflies and moths. They are:
- Steve Brine MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford (Striped Lychnis)
- David Drew MP for Stroud (Large Blue)
- Philip Dunne MP for Ludlow (Wood White)
- Alison McGovern MP for Wirral South (Small Copper)
- Caroline Nokes MP for Romsey and Southampton North (Duke of Burgundy)
- Neil Parish MP for Tiverton and Honiton (Marsh Fritillary)
Through the project MPs will learn about their species enabling them to promote the species, habitats and positive management within their constituency.
In Parliament it is hoped MPs will raise awareness of their species and the causes of decline and champion the interests of their species in debates on policy and legislation in relevant issues such as climate change, agriculture and land use.
Since the launch of the project in spring 2016, Butterfly Conservation staff, landowners and Branches have met with our champions to show them their species and examples of habitat in which these species thrive.
Neil Parish was wowed by webs created by the Marsh Fritillary butterfly in Dartmoor, Steve Brine was given a tour of our Magdalen Hill Down Reserve, Caroline Nokes and Philip Dunne were able to see woodland habitats in their constituencies, which are suitably managed for their species.
Over the next Parliament our engagement with MPs will become increasingly important as we exit the European Union. Our MP Champions will be key in helping to ensure our environment remains protected.
Find out more about the project, the MPs involved and the species which are championed: https://www.buglife.org.uk/specieschampions