50 organisations contribute to the 2016 State of Nature report

More than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction and the numbers of the nation’s most endangered creatures have plummeted by two-thirds since 1970, according to a major report. The abundance of all wildlife has also fallen, with one in six animals, birds, fish and plants having been lost, the State of Nature report found. Together with historical deforestation and industrialisation, these trends have left the UK “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”, with most of the country having gone past the threshold at which “ecosystems may no longer reliably meet society’s needs”. Click here to read more.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom spoke at the State of Nature report launch

Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said:

‘Thank you very much and what a fantastic speech, that was so informative. It is fantastic to be with so many people here today who have a real passion for our environment. As we meet to discuss the State of Nature, it’s a great pleasure to have such a real force of nature with us. So thank you so much, Sir David, for everything you have done to enthuse and inform.

From Life on Earth to the Blue Planet, millions have watched and learned from your unrivalled enthusiasm and knowledge and passion for our environment, so thank you for all that you do.

We certainly know the British people care deeply about our environment. And as Environment Secretary, I want to be very clear – it is my ambition and it’s my department’s vision to be the first generation to leave our environment better than we found it since the industrial revolution.

That is quite an ambition and we are determined. Thank you for your offer of support and cooperation – gladly taken up. Please be in no doubt that our ambition is very big.

Connecting people with nature, developing a long-term plan for the environment is central to this vision, as is today’s State of Nature report, which sets out both the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

So I want to thank everyone who contributed to this report, from the experts and scientists to the volunteers who turn out in all weathers, to gather the data so vital to this report. We’re so grateful to you. Turning to the report itself, it shows that action is now more vital than ever. It brings some very serious issues to our attention, like the decline of pollinators and other insects – creatures that are vital to our ecosystems. But I am also encouraged by some signs that historic rates of decline are slowing – with some species even making some pretty remarkable recoveries. The report’s detailed case studies show how we can work together to make a genuine difference. It highlights some recent collaborations to restore grassland and woodland, and create more wetland – leading to the recovery of species like the lesser horseshoe bat.

But with three quarters of our landmass farmed, how we manage our farmland is key to tackling the challenges we see in this report. It is clear our wildlife still feels the impact today from the significant changes we saw in the 1970s and 1980s in the way that land was managed and used. But we are making progress. Investment and working in partnership is delivering improvements, with careful management helping to turn around the fortunes of birds like the tree sparrow, cirl bunting and stone curlew.

Farmers have reduced agricultural run-off and other pollution to ensure, for example, that our iconic chalk streams continue to provide their rare and valuable habitats. Much of this has been achieved through support from environmental schemes like Catchment Sensitive Farming. To read more click here

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