The RSPB does a lot of valuable conservation work directly on our own reserves, using management techniques to improve habitats for birds.
However, we also want to improve what happens in the wider countryside and environment, and to make sure that funding is available to support our work.
To do this, we work to influence government policy.
In England, political responsibility for water management decisions lies with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Water matters to politicians - whether we are talking about flooding, water shortages, pollution or simply the quality of wetland wildlife
In Wales this responsibility lies with the National Assembly for Wales.
In Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Executive have political responsibility for water management decisions.
In Northern Ireland, the dissolution of the devolved parliament and suspension of devolved institutions means that most decisions are delivered from Defra, via the Northern Ireland Office.
Working with civil servants and politicians
RSPB water policy officers meet with civil servants in Whitehall and the devolved administrations, to press for the policy changes needed for a better water environment.
We also work with politicians in the Parliaments of the UK. We work with Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and Welsh Assembly Members (WAMs), as well as peers who have an interest in water issues, providing them with briefings about our concerns, and helping to ensure that the law works for wetland wildlife.
Water matters to politicians - whether we are talking about flooding, water shortages, pollution or simply the quality of wetland wildlife, these issues are directly relevant to their constituents.
Our work - at home and abroad
The RSPB has worked recently to influence the content of the Water Bill (now Water Act) at Westminster and the Scottish Water Environment and Water Services Act in Edinburgh. Our campaigns on these Bills have led to real improvements in them for the environment, demonstrating the value of engaging with the political process to win gains for birds and other wetland wildlife.
As well as work in the UK, the RSPB also helps to shape legislation and policy in Europe. Many important environmental laws (including the Water Framework Directive) are made in Brussels, and then translated into national law by our parliaments.
The RSPB, working with other green organisations in Europe, helped to make sure the Water Framework Directive became law, and is now lobbying to ensure that it is fully and sensibly implemented across all member states.
Source: Water Policy unit
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