Budget cuts threaten biodiversity

Funding cuts have resulted in many of Natural England’s biodiversity projects coming to a premature end, according to a letter written to the Environmental Audit Committee.

Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, appeared before the Committee in October as part of an inquiry on Biodiversity and Ecosystems.

Within the evidence session, Mr Juniper explained that the organisation’s current funding is below the level required to carry out its statutory duties to a good standard.

Due to funding cuts, Natural England has had to scale back the management of nature reserves, their work protecting species at risk of extinction and their support for landscape and biodiversity activities.

In the letter, Mr Juniper suggests that if Natural England received more funding, these schemes would not need to be scaled back.

Environmental Audit Committee chairman, Philip Dunne, said: ‘Natural England is one of the key organisations responsible for maintaining and protecting UK wildlife.

‘Funding restrictions limiting crucial roles such as monitoring nature can have a negative impact on the UK’s biodiversity, and as my Committee has recently heard, could hamper the success of Government policies in this area.

‘There are up to 1 million plant and animal species at risk of extinction worldwide, and Natural England’s to-do list is ever increasing. That is why they need the funds required to do the jobs they are tasked to do.

‘We have heard how the Government aspires to be an environmental world leader, not just in the year it hosts COP26; and that it also wants a green economic recovery from coronavirus. A good start for biodiversity would be by responding positively to Natural England’s request in the upcoming Spending Review.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

 

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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