Latest News, Wildlife | Posted: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 at 10:04 am | return to news

RSPB fears species face extinction

The RSPB has accused the government of missing nature targets.

Redshank, photo by Andy Hay, RSPB images
Redshank, photo by Andy Hay, RSPB images

Its report, ‘A Lost Decade for Nature’, shows the UK may have met as few as just three of the 20 international targets it agreed to a decade ago, and in six areas the UK has actually gone backwards.

Ten years ago ‘the Aichi Targets’ were hailed as the blueprint for saving life on Earth and reversing the terrible losses in wildlife and the natural environment seen over previous decades. The RSPB believes the cause for their failure was that the targets were not legally binding, so governments around the world, including in the UK, were not compelled to act.

Beccy Speight, chief executive at the RSPB said,  “Next year we have the opportunity to play a leading role in developing a new set of global targets to restore nature. But first we need an honest assessment that recognises we need to do much more at home. We have targets enshrined in law to tackle the climate emergency, but none, yet, to reverse the crisis facing nature. We cannot be in this same position in 2030 with our natural world vanishing due to inaction.”

To ensure the next decade is not again lost to inaction, the RSPB has launched the Revive Our World campaign – which it hopes Dorset residents with back – pushing for legally binding targets to restore nature and deliver a green recovery across all governments of the UK.

According to State of Nature (2019), 133 species have been lost from our shores completely since 1950. Scientists looked at almost 8,500 species, finding that over one in 10 is threatened with extinction.

Although the UK claims to be protecting large areas of land (28%) and sea (24%), closer inspection reveals that this includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that are not well-managed for nature, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) that are in poor health and not adequately monitored. The amount of land protected and well-managed for nature could be as low as five per cent of the UK. At sea, although new protected areas have been announced, only 10 per cent of these are being actively managed.

During the past decade public funding for the environment and nature has declined in the UK from £641 million (2012/13) to just £456 million (2017/18). Adjusting for inflation this represents a decrease of £256m.

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