WILDLIFE is in trouble: across the world, in the UK, and right here in Somerset. From rivers and woodlands, to birds, insects and flowers, our natural world is in sharp decline.

Our natural world is valuable in its own right and is the foundation of our wellbeing - we depend on it and right now it is depending on us. Without a healthy natural world the survival of humanity is at stake. By creating more space for nature, we can create a better world for people and wildlife.

While this decline is really bad news, there is something positive that is happening right now to stop this. And it’s something we all need to be part of. To date, our environment has been helped by strong EU laws and enforcement powers.

The EU has driven much needed investment in a healthier natural world. With Brexit pending, the Wildlife Trusts and others have convinced the government of the need for a new law – an Environment Act - to improve protection for our country’s wildlife and natural places.

A new and ambitious Environment Act can help reverse the trend of our declining wildlife, setting out a plan for nature's recovery and creating a healthier natural world for us all.

As this paper goes to print we await the announcement this week of the first step on our route to nature’s recovery - the announcement of this Environment Bill - a draft law that will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons and the House of Lords before being signed by the Queen and then being made into an ‘Environment Act’ - which turns the Bill into law. The announcement will be a real test of the government and their commitment to our natural world. After all, the government has stated that it intends to "leave our environment in a better state than it inherited it" and Environment Secretary Mr Gove has said he wants the UK to become a global leader, setting the gold standard for environmental protection. This week’s announcement is just the start. The fuller Environment Bill is expected to be published next summer.

We’re looking forward to the announcement and hope to see truly meaningful targets for environmental recovery and not be limited to just protecting what we have left. It is also vital that the Bill drives the creation of Nature Recovery Networks to create more space for nature and to join up important places for wildlife through new green corridors. This is a crucial moment for our wildlife and our own wellbeing and we hope that we can count on those that value Somerset’s wildlife and natural places to join us in 2019 and make a difference. Small actions matter. As Vincent Van Gogh said, Great things are done by a small series of things brought together.