People’s Walk for Wildlife demands spotlight on environmental issues

Singer Billy Bragg has joined campaigner Chris Packham in calling for environmental issues to be put “back on the agenda”.

Hundreds of people, some dressed as animals and insects, came together in London to declare their support for nature.

The People’s Walk for Wildlife, described by organisers as a natural revolution, drew a large crowd to Hyde Park on Saturday despite the rain.

Adults and children carried placards reading We Want More Wild in Our Life and Nature is Everything, and wore animal masks for the event which was held to raise awareness of the problems facing species and habitats across the UK.

Campaigner Chris Packham thanked those gathered near the Reformers Tree in the park for choosing to “stand up and be counted”.

Bragg, who helped Packham sing a re-worked version of Between The Wars which the TV presenter had re-named A Turtledove’s Lament, said environmental issues were competing on a busy political agenda dominated by Brexit.

After leading the crowd in a rendition of Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Bragg said: “Through the blizzard of Brexit bullshit we’ve got to find some way of getting the environment back on the agenda.

“And I know that we can rely on people like you, the people that spoke here today, people like Chris Packham to get a word in for us.”

Following the speeches the crowd, many playing the sounds of birds chirping on their phones, walked through the city centre towards Richmond Terrace.

The event came just a few days after Packham unveiled proposals to help nature, including “twinning” primary schools with farms to help children understand how food is produced.

The proposals are part of a manifesto for wildlife he has launched to reverse what he describes as an “ecological apocalypse”, with more than half of British species suffering declines in recent decades.

The manifesto, which Packham says is a “first draft to ignite public interest” includes more controversial suggestions including banning driven grouse shooting, outlawing the use of lead ammunition and snares, making it illegal to dredge for scallops and stopping Scottish seal culling.

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