People's Plan for Nature: public calls for urgent change following pioneering citizens’ assembly

  • 100-strong assembly brought together to agree a shared vision on how to renew and protect nature here in the UK, resulting in a plan that involved 30,000 contributions from the public
  • The Plan calls for access to nature as a human right, the urgent restoration of our rivers, transparency from supermarkets and a cross-party commitment to farming for nature
  • Assembly members and academic lead Nat Seddon say the plan ‘must inject urgency’ into leaders and organisations at all levels
  • People encouraged to add their voice at

The first ever UK-wide citizens’ assembly for nature has today published its recommendations for renewing and protecting our natural environment, calling for urgent and immediate action from every part of society. Decades of damage have pushed wildlife and habitats to the brink. Thirty-eight million birds have vanished from our skies in the last 50 years, and 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the Second World War. Experts believe that only 5% of UK land is effectively protected for nature.

Now a joint venture between Oxford & Aberdeen academics and the National Trust, RSPB and WWF, the People’s Plan for Nature, aims to turn the tide by challenging governments, businesses, charities, communities, and individuals with a public demand for immediate and sweeping change.

Published today, the plan calls for a fundamental change in how we value nature in the UK, including making sure nature is included in all levels of decision-making. It says there must be ‘no more harm to nature’ and demands stronger legislation and clear targets.

Among the top calls to action are:

  • All commercial and policy decisions to take into account potential impacts on nature
  • An overhaul of current farming subsidy systems to prioritise sustainable and nature-friendly farming
  • Greater government accountability through a permanent Assembly for Nature made up of NGOs, industry and public expertise

Professor Nathalie Seddon was one of the two academic leads for the People’s Assembly, advising on the scientific evidence presented to the People’s Assembly and ensuring that it was balanced, accurate and include perspectives from across all four nations. Professor Nathalie Seddon of the Department of Biology, University of Oxford, said:

“The People’s Plan for Nature is a roadmap to help us get from where we are now, living in a highly degraded nature-depleted country, to where we need to be, empowered and living as part of flourishing landscapes, seascapes and cities, healthier, happier and re-connected with nature. I was impressed by the rigour of the process, the spirit of collaboration and openness among a very diverse group of Assembly members, and the quality of their discussions and questions. I think that the Assembly has come up with a really compelling set of critical actions to restore the vitality of our environment.

"The experience left me feeling hopeful for the future of UK nature as well as for nature in general; there’s a good chance that if we get things right here, other places will be inspired to do the same.”

The plan is the result of several months of discussions by members of the public via a unique citizen engagement process run by Involve. It included an open call for ideas on how to save nature, which received 30,000 responses, and a citizens’ assembly made up of 100 people from all four nations of the UK and all walks of life. The assembly came together to review evidence on the state of nature and find common ground on the action needed to reverse the shocking declines.

Over the course of four weekends between November and February, assembly members listened to evidence on UK nature restoration, food systems, mental health, access to nature, fishing and agriculture. They heard from a range of world-leading experts, including academics, farmers, supermarkets, local authorities and water companies, and a range of viewpoints.

Other calls to action include:

  • Access to nature to be recognised as a human right.
  • A universal quality standard label in supermarkets showing the source and nature impact of products to help consumers make nature-friendly choices.
  • The urgent restoration of all rivers and wetlands, investment in wastewater infrastructure, and the establishment of Marine National Parks.
  • Cross-party commitment to future farming practices that help nature, and incentives for farmers to farm sustainably and help them through this transition.
  • A national conversation on how and why we should change our diet to support nature, and food hubs to help people access local produce.

You can read the plan in full at and add your voice to the cause.