By Nick Kempe
#netzerowithnature is a hashtag now being frequently used by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority (LLTNPA) but is also “the collective strategy of the National Parks in the fight against climate change and the biodiversity crisis” (see here). The LLTNPA newsletter went on to say:
Last year, in the continued fall-out from the diesel emissions scandal, BMW was fined 370m euros by the EU for colluding with other German car makers to delay the introduction of emissions cleaning technology (see here). This dirty car manufacturer now wants to be seen as green and what better way than to provide a few Electric Vehicle charging points and sponsor a nature restoration in each National Park, starting with dew ponds in the South Downs? Ironically, the announcement came just a few weeks after BMW announced they were moving the production of electric minis from Cowley to China (see here) and were in need of some good publicity. What better than a few photos of BMWs in prominent locations in the Lake District National Park (see here)? UK National Parks to the rescue!
On the UK National Parks website a number of “partnership opportunities” and partners – some of whom are very worthy – are listed (see here) but among the founding partners of net zero with nature is Santander bank. They were accused of frying the planet at COP26 in Glasgow last year (see here) having invested $34 billion since 2015 in fossil fuel production. In other words BMW’s sponsorship of UK National Parks is not a one-off.
The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority connection
The Chair of UK National Parks until this summer was James Stuart, Convener of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority. At COP 26 he announced that UK National Parks had brokered a statement signed by protected areas across the world about the vital role they had to play in tackling climate change and the nature crisis (see here). What he didn’t say was that UK National Parks had just or was about to conclude a sponsorship deal with Santander. One wonders if any of the other protected areas outside the UK which signed knew? Had protesters known, I suspect they would have had something to say!
Mr Stuart’s term on the LLTNPA Board ends early in the New Year but his involvement in National Parks will not end, in July he was appointed to the Lake District National Park Authority. One wonders too if those photos of shiny BMWs in the Lake District were just a coincidence?