A children’s march to Buckingham Palace in central London yesterday called for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to back a new environmental approach on her estates and promote biodiversity across the country.
Scores of children and their parents joined the march across nearby Green Park to the Queen’s official residence to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures asking royals to “rewild” their land.
The throngs of children and adults, many of them wearing flowers in their hair, carried colourful banners and placards that urged the royal family to “rewild crown land”.
Rewilding is a conservation effort aimed at restoring natural processes and wilderness areas, and Packham said that a transition on royal estates would involve using only organic materials, more tree planting and a reduction in deer numbers to allow regeneration.
The petition asks the family to return hundreds of thousands of hectares of land it owns to its natural state, encouraging the return of native species before the UN’s COP26 climate summit hosted by Britain in October.
Campaigners calculate the royals own land equivalent to 1.4% of the UK, much of which they say could be used to encourage nature.
TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, who led the march, said the demonstrators wanted to see the royals make the change on the “800,000 acres of land that they have in the UK”, calling the march “the most harmonious, beautiful and peaceful demonstration”.
“We are very politely ... asking them to change their (estate management) practices and if they could announce that before COP it would send out a brilliant message across the world,” he told Sky News.
“This is not the time for talking about doing things anymore, this is the time to actually do them, so whilst they are saying the right things ... what better place to do the right thing than in your very own, very large, back yard.”
Packham added that practices like grouse shooting in which land is burned and drained and lead shot is used “are not compatible with some of the things that the royal family are saying about their genuine concerns when it comes to the environment and the bio-diversity crisis”.
The Royal Estates said it has a long history of conservation and biodiversity and was constantly looking for ways to make further improvements.
The Queen, her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and the heir’s eldest son Prince William and wife Kate will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November, organisers said on Friday.
World leaders are due to meet at the summit to try to flesh out commitments made in Paris in 2015 aimed at stabilising the planet’s climate and to speed up action to limit climate change.
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