With elections taking place in eight of England’s mayoral city and combined authorities in May 2021, we need local leaders who will deliver positive change for people, the environment and the economy by investing in nature. 

A new RSPB report published before Christmas makes the case for investing in nature and sets out the benefits of doing so for health and equality, climate and biodiversity, and jobs and the economy – and the evidence is compelling: 

  • £2.1 billion in potential annual savings to the NHS through improved public health. 
  • Tens of thousands of new jobs created on top of the 750,000 plus nature already supports. 
  • The urgent need for action on climate change and biodiversity loss to avoid future economic losses running into the tens of £billions. 

The arguments for prioritising investment in nature have never been stronger, especially in light of the inequalities in access to nature and correlated health outcomes that COVID-19 has so cruelly exposed with people from the most deprived communities and minority ethnic backgrounds suffering the highest death rates. 

The wheels of change turn slowly, but you can help to turn them. Speak up for nature in your local elections this year and become an RSPB Campaign Champion to hear more about how you can get involved in ensuring that nature is a priority for all of our local and city leaders. 

The positive environmental messaging emerging from Number 10 and international agreement on targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and restoring lost biodiversity are welcome, but here at home the drive to build, build, build threatens to undermine ambitions to deliver a green recovery. 

We need our Local Government leaders, including the directly elected mayors of the cities and combined authorities that are home to more than 20 million people in England (over a third of the population), to be the champions of change that will help us level up the country and build back better with nature and the environment, and without leaving anyone behind. 

Take action 

Later this month, we will be asking candidates in the local and mayoral elections to commit to investing in nature as the only real recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.  

If you’re not sure if you have an elected mayor, or if they are up for election in 2021, these are the city and Combined Authorities in England that are holding elections in May: 

  • Greater London 
  • Greater Manchester 
  • West Midlands 
  • Tees Valley 
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 
  • West of England 
  • West Yorkshire (new mayoral authority  first Mayor to be elected 2021) 

Two other mayoral authorities, Sheffield City Region and North of Tyne, have elections scheduled for 2022 and 2024 respectively. 

To find out more about metro mayors click here.

If you would like to speak up for nature in your local elections next year, become an RSPB Campaign Champion to hear more about how you can get involved and ensure that nature is a priority for all of our local and city leaders. Join the movement for more nature-friendly communities!