New Approach Needed to Conserving UK Biodiversity – EAC

The Environmental Audit Committee has today published its report into ‘Halting UK Biodiversity Loss’. The Committee call for a new approach to address dramatic declines in biodiversity across England and in the UK’s Overseas Territories (OTs).

The Committee find that the Government is on course to miss the key target to halt biodiversity loss by 2010, with many species and habitats facing severe declines and local extinctions across England. The Committee has particularly criticised the Government’s policies with respect to the UK’s OTs; it’s failure to act in relation to previous recommendations of the Committee to protect the environment of the territories means that the biodiversity of these areas now faces its ‘eleventh hour’.

The Committee call upon the Government to adopt an ecosystems approach to conservation, taking into account the implications of the policy of all Government Departments for the natural environment when making decisions and thinking beyond simply a ‘protected area’ approach to conservation. The Committee welcome the Government’s decision to conduct an ecosystem assessment for England, but state that this should be just a first-step to a wider cross-departmental initiative.

Calling on the Government to take urgent action to protect the environment of the UK’s Territories, Tim Yeo MP, Committee Chair, said: “One of the most important contributions the Government could make to slow the catastrophic global diversity loss currently occurring, would be to accept its environmental responsibility for our Overseas Territories.” The Committee recommend that responsibility for the OTs is transferred from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to Defra.

See Full Report
Read the joint BES- Institute of Biology response to the consultation on ‘Halting UK Biodiversity Loss’